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.... I take my vow that I shall lay down may life in defence of our land. 


Babasaheb Dr. B.R. Ambedkar 

(14th April 1891 - 6th December 1956) 


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“For I am of the opinion that the most vital 
need of the day is to create among the mass of 
the people the sense of a common nationality, 
the feeling not that they are Indians first and 
Hindus, Mohammedans or Sindhis and Kanarese 
afterwards, but that they are Indians first and 
Indians last. If that be the ideal then it follows 
that nothing should be done which will harden 
local patriotism and group consciousness.” 
— (P. No. 66) 


— Dr. B. R. Ambedkar 


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DR BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR 
WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

VOL. 17 
PART ONE 

DR. B. R. AMBEDKAR AND HIS 
EGALITARIAN REVOLUTION 

PART ONE 


STRUGGLE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 


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DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR 

WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

VOL. 17 

PART ONE 


DR. B.R. AMBEDKAR AND HIS 
EGALITARIAN REVOLUTION 


PART ONE 


STRUGGLE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 


Edited by 


HARI NARAKE 


DR. M. L. KASARE 


N. G. RAMBLE 


ASHOK GODGHATE 


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Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar : Writings and Speeches 

Vol. 17 (Part-1) 


First Edition by Education Department, Govt, of Maharashtra : 4 October, 2003 
Re-printed by Dr. Ambedkar Foundation : January, 2014 


ISBN (Set) : 978-93-5109-064-9 


Courtesy : Monogram used on the Cover page is taken from 
Babasaheb Dr. Ambedkar’s Letterhead. 


© 

Secretary 

Education Department 
Government of Maharashtra 


Price : One Set of 1 to 17 Volumes (20 Books) : ? 3000/- 


Publisher : 

Dr. Ambedkar Foundation 

Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Govt, of India 

15, Janpath, New Delhi - 110 001 

Phone : 011-23357625, 23320571, 23320589 

Fax : 011-23320582 

Website : www.ambedkarfoundation.nic.in 


The Education Department Government of Maharashtra, Bombay-400032 
for Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Source Material Publication Committee 


Printer 

M/s. Tan Prints India Pvt. Ltd., N. H. 10, Village-Rohad,Distt. Jhajjar, Haryana 


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Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment 
& Chairperson, Dr. Ambedkar Foundation 



Kumar i Selja 


MESSAGE 


Babasaheb Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the Chief Architect of Indian Constitution was 
a scholar par excellence, a philosopher, a visionary, an emancipator and a true 
nationalist. He led a number of social movements to secure human rights to the 
oppressed and depressed sections of the society. He stands as a symbol of struggle 
for social justice. 

The Government of Maharashtra has done a highly commendable work of 
publication of volumes of unpublished works of Dr. Ambedkar, which have brought 
out his ideology and philosophy before the Nation and the world. 

In pursuance of the recommendations of the Centenary Celebrations Committee 
of Dr. Ambedkar, constituted under the chairmanship of the then Prime Minister 
of India, the Dr. Ambedkar Foundation (DAF) was set up for implementation of 
different schemes, projects and activities for furthering the ideology and message 
of Dr. Ambedkar among the masses in India as well as abroad. 

The DAF took up the work of translation and publication of the Collected Works 
of Babasaheb Dr. B.R. Ambedkar published by the Government of Maharashtra 
in English and Marathi into Hindi and other regional languages. I am extremely 
thankful to the Government of Maharashtra’s consent for bringing out the works 
of Dr. Ambedkar in English also by the Dr. Ambedkar Foundation. 

Dr. Ambedkar’s writings are as relevant today as were at the time when 
these were penned. He firmly believed that our political democracy must stand on 
the base of social democracy which means a way of life which recognizes liberty, 
equality and fraternity as the principles of life. He emphasized on measuring the 
progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved. 
According to him if we want to maintain democracy not merely in form, but also 
in fact, we must hold fast to constitutional methods of achieving our social and 
economic objectives. He advocated that in our political, social and economic life, 
we must have the principle of one man, one vote, one value. 

There is a great deal that we can learn from Dr. Ambedkar’s ideology and 
philosophy which would be beneficial to our Nation building endeavor. I am glad 
that the DAF is taking steps to spread Dr. Ambedkar’s ideology and philosophy 
to an even wider readership. 

I would be grateful for any suggestions on publication of works of Babasaheb 
Dr. Ambedkar. , 



(Kumari Selja) 


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Collected Works of Babasaheb Dr. Ambedkar (CWBA) 

Editorial Board 

Kumari Selja 

Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment, Govt, of India 

and 

Chairperson, Dr. Ambedkar Foundation 

Shri Manikrao Hodlya Gavit 

Minister of State for Social Justice & Empowerment, Govt, of India 

Shri P. Balram Naik 

Minister of State for Social Justice & Empowerment, Govt, of India 

Shri Sudhir Bhargav 

Secretary 

Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Govt, of India 


Shri Sanjeev Kumar 

Joint Secretary 

Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Govt, of India 

and 

Member Secretary, Dr. Ambedkar Foundation 


Shri Viney Kumar Paul 

Director 

Dr. Ambedkar Foundation 


Shri Kumar Anupam 

Manager (Co-ordination) - CWBA 


Shri Jagdish Prasad ‘Bharti’ 

Manager (Marketing) - CWBA 


Shri Sudhir Hilsayan 

Editor, Dr. Ambedkar Foundation 


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1 . 

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DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR SOURCE 
MATERIAL PUBLICATION COMMITTEE 


Hon'ble Shri Laxmanrao Dhoble 
Minister, for Higher Education 

Hon'ble Shri Anis Ahmed 

Minister of State For Higher & Tech. Education 

Shri R.S. Gavai 

Shri Ramdas Athawale 

Shri Prakash Ambedkar 

Prof. Jogendra Kawade 

Prof. N.D. Patil 

Dr. Janardan Waghmare 

Shri Laxman Mane 

Dr. M.L. Kasare 

Shri S.S. Rege 

Shri N.G. Kamble 

Dr. Yashwant Manohar 

Prof. Ashok Godghate 

Dr. Gangadhar Pantawane 

Prof. Keshav Meshram 

Shri T.M. Kamble 

Shri Hari Narake Member Secretary, 

Mahatma Phule Source Material Publication 
Committee. 

Director Government Printing and Publications ... 

Shrimati Chandra Iyengar, Principal Secretary, ... 
Higher And Technical Education. 

Dr. S.N. Pathan 
Director, Higher Education 

Shri Hari Narake 


PRESIDENT 

MEMBER 

MEMBER 

MEMBER 

MEMBER 

MEMBER 

MEMBER 

MEMBER 

MEMBER 

MEMBER 

MEMBER 

MEMBER 

MEMBER 

MEMBER 

MEMBER 

MEMBER 

MEMBER 

MEMBER 


MEMBER 

MEMBER 

CONVENOR 

MEMBER- 

SECRETARY 


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CHIEF MINISTER Mantralaya, Mumbai 400 032. 

Date : 29th August 2003 





MAHARASHTRA 


FOREWORD 

It gives me immense pleasure to write foreword to this 17th 
volume of Writings and Speeches of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. I 
consider it my privilege to see that Govt, of Maharashtra have 
undertaken the task to publish the Writings and Speeches of 
Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. To publish these volumes means to 
boost up the renaissance and the Government of Maharashtra 
has every reason to take pride in carrying out this noble task. 

Dr. Ambedkar was determined to bring revolutionary 
changes in the national life of India. We all know that, in India 
there existed a traditional social set up which was held under 
the tentacles of caste-ridden graded inequality for centuries 
together. It was like pond of stagnant water. Dr. Ambedkar 
wanted to bring a complete change in social, economic and 
political life of the Indian Society. He experienced that, his 
millions of people were deprived of even basic human rights. 
He fought relentlessly for these rights till his last breath and 
succeeded in securing them. Social justice was the corner stone 
of his movement. He was the harbinger of human rights. 

He believed that democracy was not only a form of 
Government, but it was essentially a form of society. He wanted 
a society based on democratic values. He gave a gallant fight 
against orthodoxy to obtain these rights. He is the pioneer 
of democracy in India. The Constitution is the core of our 
national life. He always insisted upon egalitarian society. It 
was his conviction that political, social and economic changes 
can be brought about only through Constitutional means. 


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Unlike other great thinkers of the world, Dr. Ambedkar was 
not an abstract thinker. He participated actively in political and 
social activities. Being the Chairman of the Drafting Committee, 
he burned the midnight oil to draft our Constitution. Through 
this Constitution, he endowed the human rights to all those 
who were exploited and deprived of the basic rights. During 
his tenure as a Labour Minister his work for the upliftment 
of labour class is invaluable and unparalleled. 

Dr. Ambedkar’s life is a saga of his relentless struggle 
against the orthodox society. The society was based on the 
impregnable citadel of conservatism, inequality, injustice and 
exploitation. His approach was based mainly on social justice. 
He proved to be the liberator and saviour for the millions of 
Indian people. He believed that, his countrymen would some 
day realize that, the country is always greater than the person. 

This volume envisages his vital role in nation building. He 
was associated with all the historical events like South Borough 
Commission, Simon Commission, Round Table Conference, 
1935 Act, Cripps Mission, Cabinet Mission etc. He proved his 
metal in drafting the revolutionary document i.e. ‘Constitution 
of India’. The Constitution has been hailed by many great 
statesmans and scholars. They see the Constitution as the 
Foremost Social Document. Through this Constitution he laid 
down the foundation of democracy. It was his conviction that, 
Political democracy should be strengthened with social and 
economic democracy. Dr. Ambedkar emphasized on national 
integration and secularism. Dr. Ambedkar strongly insisted 
upon the need of National Integration. Without social union 
political unity is difficult to be achieved. If achieved, it would 
be as precarious as a summer sapling liable to be uprooted 
by the gust of hostile wind. 

The Editorial Board comprises of Shri Hari Narke, Shri N. G. 
Ramble, Dr. M. L. Kasare, Prof. Ashok Godghate, who have been 
imbibed with the spirit of Ambedkarism and are committed to 
the cause. I am aware of their zeal to work. Despite heavy odds 
and personal inconveniences they have collected, collated the 
scattered material and gave the proper shape for the appropriate 
presentation in the form of the present volume. But for their 
commitment, singular devotion and high sense of duty, it 


(XII) 


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would have been extremely difficult to complete the task on 
hand. I am impressed by their tremendous tenacity and due 
diligence. I have every reason to be proud of them. I consider 
it my duty to congratulate each one of them for the successful 
accomplishment. I am extremely happy that this volume No. 
17 of Writings and Speeches of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar is 
going to see the light of the day. 



(Sushilkumar Shinde) 
Chief Minister 


(XIII) 


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PREFACE 

I am extremely happy to see that the 17th volume of 
Writings and Speeches of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar is 
being published by the Govt, of Maharashtra. It was our 
sincere desire that people not only from India but outside 
the country should be benefited by the noble thoughts of Dr. 
Ambedkar. It was stupendous task to publish the literature of 
Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. 

Indian society was a gradation of Castes forming an 
ascending scale of reverence and descending scale of contempt, 
where there was no scope for the establishment of egalitarian 
society. The liberty, equality and fraternity are fundamentals 
for the democratic form of Government. He was a pragmatic, 
political, intellectual and spiritual leader for millions. 
Dr. Ambedkar was a creator of an integrated society through 
the Constitution. He laid emphasis on allround development 
of the Indian society. He fought for social justice throughout 
his life. 

He was convinced that, the education alone is a grand 
panacea to all social ills. He did not leave any stone unturned 
to imbibe the importance of education. He stressed the need 
of higher education. He started a new era by establishing 
Educational Institutions. He had firm belief that as the 
body needs food, the mind needs thoughts which only can 
be realized through education. His ideas about education 
were crystal clear in comparison to his contemporaries. He 
was of the firm opinion that the education alone can help 
in building modern India. My mind is filled with a sense of 
gratitude towards this great man who guided the humanity 
to create homogenous society. In publishing his writings and 
speeches I feel, I have tried to repay part of the debt we 
owe to him. 

I am associated with the Editioral Board comprising of 
Shri Hari Narke, Shri N. G. Kamble, Dr. M. L. Kasare and 
Prof. Ashok Godghate who are of high caliber and drawn 
from diverse fields. With their rich experience and personal 
involvement in this noble task, the Govt, of Maharashtra have 


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been able to meet the aspirations of millions of people who 
have been eagerly waiting for the present volume. I am deeply 
impressed by their commitment and due diligence to the 
mission. I am also aware of the difficulties they encountered in 
the matter of gathering the relevant material for the present 
volume. On behalf of the Govt, of Maharashtra and myself 
as the President of Source Material Publication Committee. 
I place on record a word of appreciation and commendation 
to the members of the Editorial Board. 



(Prof. Laxman Dhoble) 
Minister for Higher Education 


(XVI) 


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EDITORIAL 

It is with utmost pride and pleasure we place the 
Seventeenth Volume of the source material on Babasaheb 
Dr. B. R. Ambedkar in the hands of people of India and abroad 
who, with their undiminished reverence, devotion and dedication, 
have patronized earlier volumes of Dr. B. R. AMBEDKAR 
WRITINGS AND SPEECHES, published by the Department 
of Higher Education, Government of Maharashtra, Mumbai. 

The present volume contains the literature related to 
the movements of Chawdar Tank Mahad, Kalaram Temple 
Entry Satyagraha, Nasik, the documents recounting the role 
of Dr. Ambedkar in Round Table Conference, London and 
the documents narrating the Poona Pact. Dr. Ambedkar’s 
important speeches, statements and press interviews delivered 
at numerous places in India and abroad on diverse subjects 
are incorporated. In addition to this the documents reporting 
the formation of political parties, Educational Institutions 
and various other organizations with their constitutions is 
the speciality of this volume. 

The laws of Manu ordained the lowest status to the 
Depressed Classes. In general, there is no connubial and 
commensalisms between Caste Hindus and the Untouchables 
leading to quarantine which the Untouchables have never been 
allowed to cross. The dumb victims of the Hindu social order 
have been made to suffer silently. The humiliations, indignities 
and atrocities were heaped on them. In the early twenties of the 
twentieth century Dr. B. R. Ambedkar emerged as a promising 
leader to break the centuries old shackles and liberate the 
Untouchables from the age-old bondage of the Hindu Society. 
Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaja of Kolhapur, while addressing 
the Untouchables on March 21,1920 expressed, “You have 
found your saviour in Ambedkar. I am confident that he will 
break your shackles. Not only that, a time will come when, so 
whispers my conscience, Ambedkar will shine as a front-rank 
leader of all India fame and appeal.” Dr. Ambedkar derived 
inspiration from Mahatma Jotirao Fule, he described him as 
“the Greatest Shudra of Modern India, who made the lower 
classes of Hindus conscious of their slavery to the higher classes 
and who preached the gospel that, for India social democracy 
was more vital than independence from foreign rule.” 


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Through the liberation movements such as Mahad 
Satyagraha (1927) and Kalaram Temple-entry-struggle (1930), 
Dr. Ambedkar attempted to change the Hindu mindset. The aim 
of Mahad Satyagraha was to unfurl “the banner of equality” 
and to smash the “steel frames of the caste system”. December 
25,1927 was a ‘Red letter’ Day in the annals of history, when 
Manu-smruti was consigned to flames as a symbolic protest 
against the unjust social order. It need to be mentioned that 
graded inequality is the fundamental principles of the Hindu 
social order which nurtures the spirit of social separation 
and segregation. Promotion of discriminative attitudes among 
the innumerable castes and sub-castes generates perpetual 
caste conflicts and mutual hatred. In short, the pernicious 
principle eats into the vitals of the society. Dr. Ambedkar 
retorted communal people who criticized Mahad Satyagraha 
by declaring that, the Satyagraha was to end the special 
privileges enjoyed by the caste Hindus. He said that if Bal 
Gangadhar Tilak would have born as an Untouchable, he 
would not have declared “ Swaraj is my birthright” but, 
would have proclaimed that restoration of human dignity and 
eradication of Untouchability as his primary duty. He further 
claimed, had Lenin born in India, he would have first fought 
to eradicate Untouchability and then would have taken up 
the programme of revolution. 

Dr. Ambedkar’s brainstorming, striking and thought 
provoking speeches at the Round Table Conferences bear ample 
testimony to his depth of knowledge, through grasp over subject, 
immense power of logic, tremendous tenacity and capacity to 
put across his point of view in a cogent, comprehensive, crystal 
clear and convincing manner. He roared like a lion at the 
Round Table Conference causing flutter in the political circles 
in India and England. The power in Britain were made to see 
reason and understand the dire necessity to ameliorate the 
conditions of the Depressed Classes who for centuries were 
mercilessly thrown into the quagmire of social segregation, 
political deprivation, economic destitution and perpetual 
subjugation. He proved himself worthy of the nomination to 
the Round Table Conference. Dr. Ambedkar’s pursuit of his 
theory of Separate Electorate was opposed tooth and nail by 
Mahatma Gandhi. Dr. Ambedkar thwarted the sinister design 
of the Hindu delegates to barter the interest of Depressed 


(XVIII) 


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Classes to Muslims and Sikhs. With a redoubled vigor 
Dr. Ambedkar impressed upon the conference to recognize the 
fact that Depressed Classes were not a part of Hindu society 
and hence deserved Separate Electorates and due share in 
power for their political advancement. Dr. Ambedkar strongly 
pleaded for urgent settlement of the problem of Depressed 
Classes, as he felt that it was a part of the general political 
settlement, which must not be left to the shifting sands of 
sympathy and the goodwill of the rulers of the future. Dr. 
Ambedkar pleaded for parity and not charity. 

The Communal Award declared by J. Ramsay Mac Donald, 
the then Prime Minister of Great Britain, conceded Separate 
Electorates to the Depressed Classes, was the crowning glory of 
the splendid and stupendous work done by Dr. Ambedkar at the 
Round Table Conference. On account of his magnificent, learned 
and unparallel contribution to the Round Table Conference 
in the spheres of social, political and constitutional reforms, 
Dr. Ambedkar was acclaimed as the uncrowned king of the 
Depressed Classes. But, opposition and fast unto death by 
Mahatma Gandhi led to “Poona Pact”. The crux of the Poona 
Pact was Separate Electorates granted by the Communal Award 
which were ultimately withdrawn and the method of Joint 
Electorates was introduced with the principle of reservation of 
certain seats for Depressed Classes in the Central as well as 
the Provincial Assemblies. The Poona pact was the result of an 
agreement generously and graciously agreed by Dr. Ambedkar 
to save the life of Mahatma Gandhi, although he knew that 
it was no splendid gesture on the part of Caste Hindus. 

The advent of Dr. Ambedkar on the political horizon 
at the time when the transfer of power was on cards gave 
fillip and encouragement to the Depressed Classes of India 
to advance their cause with greater vigour for legitimate 
and adequate share in power. Despite innumerable hurdles, 
political setbacks, socio-cultural shackles, Dr. Ambedkar 
with his limited trusted lieutenants like Rao Bahadur R. 
Shrinivas, Rao Bahadur N. Shivraj, Dadasaheb B. K. Gaikawad, 
Jogendranath Mandal, Hardas L. N., Khusru-e-Deccan B.S. 
Venkat Rao, B.H. Subbaiah, Eli Vadapally, Nandanar Hari, 
Justice R.R. Bhole, B. H. Varale, D.G. Jadhav, Barrister B. 
D. Khobragade, B. C. Ramble, R. D. Bhandare, Subhedar V. 
M. Sawadkar, S. A. Upshyam, Dr. P. J. Solanki, R. D. Dolas, 

(XIX) 


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G. M. Jadhav Madkebuwa, D. L. Patil, Pt. Rewaram Kawade, 
Shantabai Dani, H.D.Awale, D. T. Rupwate, Pyarelal Kuril, 
G. T. Parmar etc. waged a relentless war against his 
adversaries in Hindu social order for social equality, human 
dignity and politico-economic empowerment. 

The Hindu reform which Dr. Ambedkar dreamed through 
the Hindu Code Bill met with a steel resistance from the 
Hindu orthodoxy. Dr. Ambedkar realised that, thousands year 
old mental twist of the Caste Hindus would be impossible to 
untwist. Hence Dr. Ambedkar resolved to renounce Hinduism. 
He fulfilled his Yeola pledge of 1935 by embracing Buddhism 
in 1956 at Nagpur along with his five lakh faithful followers. 
After the conversion, Dr. Ambedkar remarked, “I am overjoyed, 
I am exalted. I feel I have been liberated from the hell.” 
Dr. Ambedkar opted Buddhism because it was built on the 
foundations of liberty, equality, fraternity, morality and 
professes scientific, rational and humanistic outlook. The 
principal aim of Buddhism is to emancipate suffering humanity. 
He undertook the stupendous task of reviving and spreading 
the gospel of the Lord Buddha. Dr. Ambedkar exhorted the 
downtrodden to take refuge in Buddha and propagate Dhamma. 
It is worth mentioning that even while selecting a religion 
for himself and his followers, Dr. Ambedkar chose “the least 
harmful way for the country.” After embracing Buddhism 
Dr. Amberdkar said: “It is the greatest benefit I am conferring 
on the country by embracing Buddhism, as Buddhism is a 
part and parcel of Bhartiya Culture. I have taken care that 
conversion will not harm the traditions, the culture and 
history of this land”. Thus Dr. Ambedkar proved himself to 
be hardcore Nationalist and patriot. He is reported to have 
said, “I confess I have many quarrels with caste Hindus over 
some points but, I take my vow that I shall lay down my life 
in defence of our land.” 

Dr. Ambedkar was the great lover of books. One of the 
main intentions behind building the ‘Rajgruha’ in Dadar, 
Bombay, was to make arrangement for books which he 
purchased in huge quantity. As an ardent educationist as 
he was, and a professor himself, Dr. Ambedkar strongly 
advocated the spread of universal education among 
Depressed Classes who were denied the same for centuries. 
Denial of education has thrown the Depressed Classes 

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into the morass of ignorance, a slough of despond, perpetual 
bondage and eternal deprivation. According to Dr. Ambedkar, 
education is not only the birthright of every human being but 
also a weapon of social change. Dr. Ambedkar was a great 
intellectual of International repute, orator, erudite scholar and 
prolific writer. The range of his writings includes economics, 
sociology, law, constitution, anthropology, political science, 
religion etc. He was a rare specimen of politician armed with 
high academic qualifications. The People’s Education Society 
that Dr. Ambedkar founded in 1945 along with dozens of 
institutions functioning thereafter at Mumbai, Aurangabad, 
Mahad, Sholapur, Nanded etc. testify his significant 
contribution to the field of education. The products of these 
institutions have occupied positions of prestige and power in 
fulfillment of Dr. Ambedkar’s vision. It is noteworthy that 
Dr. Ambedkar persuaded Lord Linlithgow, the then Viceroy 
of British India, to sponsor few Scheduled Caste students for 
prosecuting their higher studies in foreign Universities. The 
views and efforts by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar on education is the 
part of this volume. 

Dr. Ambedkar realised that the problem of the Untouchables 
was a political problem. To put it in his own words: “Essentially, 
it is a problem of a quite different in nature, it is a problem 
of securing liberty and equal opportunity to a minorities at 
the hands of the hostile majority, which believes in the denial 
of liberty and equal opportunity and conspires to enforce its 
policy on the minority. Viewed in this light the problem of 
Untouchables is fundamentally a political problem.” 

In order to realize the political goals Dr. Ambedkar felt 
the need for a separate political identity. He therefore, 
established Independent Labour Party on August 15, 1936, 
and contested general election under the Government of 
India Act, 1935. The success achieved by the Independent 
Labour Party singly was commendable. Out of 17 candidates 
of the Independent Labour Party 14 got elected for 
Bombay Provincial Assembly. Similarly some candidates 
of Independent Labour Party were also elected in other 
provinces. They were: Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, B.K. Gaikwad, 
R. R. Bhole, D. G. Jadhav, B. H. Varale, G. G. Bhatankar, 
K. S. Sawant, J. H. Aidale, P. J. Roham, V. A. Gadkari, 


(XXI) 


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XXII 


A. V. Chitre, G. R. Ghatge, S. V. Parulekar, D. W. Raut. In 
April 1942 he wound up the Independent Labour Party and 
founded the All India Scheduled Castes Federation with Rao 
Bahadur N. Shivaraj as its President. As the Second General 
Election in 1957 was approaching Dr. Ambedkar felt the need 
to invigorate the democratic forces in India. He, therefore, 
declared his intention on 10 th December 1955 to form a new 
political party called the “Republican Party of India”. He 
desired to make it open to all those who accepted three guiding 
Principles- liberty, equality and fraternity. 

Dr. Ambedkar proved beyond any shadow of doubt 
that a person from the lowest rung of the society, if given 
an opportunity, can even surpass the most meritorious of 
the privileged class. Undoubtedly, Dr. Ambedkar not only 
fulfilled the expectations of Indians in producing the best 
Constitution of the world but also proved to be an able, 
efficient administrator and great visionary. He was a versatile 
personality, a profound scholar, a valiant crusader and an 
enlightened parliamentarian. 

Dr. Ambedkar brought a new awakening and a sense 
of social significance and confidence among the deprived, 
dispossessed and Depressed Section of the society. His untiring 
crusade against Cruel Caste regime enraged the Orthodoxy 
and irked the moderates. However, that did not deter Dr. 
Ambedkar from his noble goal of liberating his fellowmen from 
slavery and misery. He, thus, became a nightmare to Caste 
Hindus, Jawaharlal Nehru; the first Prime Minister of India 
said that Dr. Ambedkar was a symbol of revolt against all the 
oppressive features of Hindu Society. As far back as in 1936 
Mahatma Gandhi remarked, “Dr. Ambedkar is a challenge to 
Hinduism, whatever label he wears in future, Dr. Ambedkar 
is not the man to allow himself to be forgotten”. 

Dr. Ambedkar was a nationalist and patriot to the core. 
In the Constituent Assembly, he remarked, “We must be 
determined to defend our independence to the last drop of 
blood.” Although Dr. Ambedkar was an indomitable fighter, 
he never deviated from the democratic norms. He bitterly 
opposed civil disobedience and other unconstitutional 
means. According to him, “Democracy is a form and 
method of Government whereby revolutionary changes 

(XXII) 


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XXIII 


in the economic and social life of the people are brought 
about without bloodshed.” Therefore, he never threw his lot 
with those who adopted violent and unconstitutional means. 
According to him, the unconstitutional means are the grammar 
of anarchy. He advised, “We must abandon the method of civil 
disobedience, non co-operation and Satyagraha. When there 
no way left for constitutional methods for achieving economic 
and social objective, there was a great deal of justification for 
unconstitutional methods. But where constitutional methods are 
open, there can be no justification for these unconstitutional 
methods.” 

He expressed his firm belief and said “Constitution is not 
a mere lawyer’s document, it is a vehicle of life, and its spirit 
is always the spirit of the age”. The greatness of his life and 
mission indicates conspicuously, his prophetic zeal and burning 
love for suffering humanity made a deep impression on his 
contemporaries. 

He expressed his grave concern regarding the mentality of 
Indians. In his Radio talk he said, “Indians today are governed 
by two different ideologies. Their political ideal set out in the 
preamble of the Constitution affirms a life of liberty, equality 
and fraternity. Their social ideal embodied in their religion 
denies them.” 

Constitution of India has abolished the Untouchability. But 
what Dr. Ambedkar had visualized, “If social conscious is such 
that it is prepared to recognize the rights which law chosen 
to enact, rights will safe and secure. But if the fundamental 
rights are apposed by the community, no law, no parliament, 
no judiciary can guarantee them in the real sense of the word,” 
appears to be true. 

He warned the countrymen saying “I have hopes that my 
countrymen will some day learn that the country is greater 
than the man”. He emphasized on social unity for strengthening 
the roots of democracy in this country. He cautioned Indians, 
“Democracy in this country is like a summer sapling. Without 
social unity, the roots of sapling cannot be strengthened. If social 
unity is not achieved this summer sapling of Democracy, will be 
rooted out with gust of summer wind.” Further he gave clarion call 
to the Indians to learn that, the democracy is a top dress on Indian 
Soil, which is essentially undemocratic. We have to cultivate good 

(XXIII) 


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XXIV 


relations between man and man based on fraternity, which 
is the corner stone of our Constitution. It was his glorious 
fight for ushering in India a social and economic democracy. 
He envisaged the cohesive social order based on equality 
and justice i.e. social, economic and political. His aim was to 
realize the ideal of one man one value in all walks of life i.e. 
Social, Economic, and Political. 

He said, “I am of the opinion that the most vital need of 
the day is, to create amongst the people the sense of a common 
nationality, a feeling not that they are Indians first and Hindus, 
Mohammedans or Sindhis and Canaree afterwards, but they 
are Indians first and Indians last.” Justice, Krishna Iyer 
rightly calls Dr. Ambedkar, as a ‘creative iconoclast’. He was 
designated as ‘constitution maker and an institutions breaker.’ 
Dr. Ambedkar was not a abstract thinker. He always lived 
in the world of action. He was one of the very few Indians, 
who had done Yeomen services to restructure the Indian 
society on the most egalitarian and humanitarian principles. 
He was harbinger of new social order in India. Among his 
contemporaries, he was perhaps the most highly learned man 
in public life, in any part of the world. 

Dr. Ambedkar, “the jewel of Nehru Cabinet”, was 
posthumously conferred “Bharat Ratna”, the highest civilian 
award under our Constitution, for the outstanding role he 
played as a maker of modern India. 

Dr. Ambedkar stands as a man of documentation. The 
incidents, speeches, interviews, schemes, proposals and ideas 
connected with him are incorporated in this Volume. 

We have tried to incorporate the material related to 
Dr. Ambedkar from various sources, some of the related 
material has been translated from Janata (Marathi) Weekly. 
Some of the material for the present Volume has been drawn 
from “Vol. 1 of Source Material on Babasaheb Ambedkar and 
the movement of Untouchables” since it was essential and 
relevant concerning to the subject. However the references have 
been given to the sources as the original material is available 
with the publication committee. The Constitutions of various 
political parties, institutions founded by Dr. Ambedkar, are 
incorporated in this Volume. 

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We believe that the present Volume will make the people 
to understand and appreciate the revolutionary role played by 
Dr. Ambedkar in eradication of Untouchability, establishing the 
parliamentary democracy, reconstruction of the Indian Society 
based on the triple gem-liberty, equality and fraternity, and 
revival of Buddhism in India. 

As the material collected for the instant Volume was so 
voluminous, that was decided to present it in three parts. These 
parts are as under. 

PART-I: Struggle for Human Rights- 

(i) Mahad Stayagraha 

(ii) Dr. Ambedkar - Mahatma Gandhi Meetings 

(iii) Role of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar in bringing the 
Untouchables on the Political- Horizon of India and 
laying a Foundation of Indian Democracy 

(iv) Kalaram Temple entry Satyagrah, Nasik and Temple 
entry movement 

(v) Movements 

PART-II: Political Activities- 

(i) Articles and notes 

(ii) Cabinet Mission 

(iii) Building of nation and democracy 

(iv) Institutions, Organizations and their constitutions. 

PART-III : Speeches 

This unique project has received constant encouragement and 
flinching co-operation from the Government of Maharashtra, which 
‘proves its commitment to spread the thoughts and philosophy of 
Babasaheb Ambedkar. It is heartening to note that the material 
published so far has been of immense use not only to the thinkers 
and research scholars, but even common people in India and 
abroad. 

Volume No. 17 was published during the last days of Vasant 
Moon, Officer on Special Duty and Editor. However some flaws 
were noticed immediately and hence the volume was not circulated. 

The decision to correct these flaws was taken by the Publication 
Committee. During the process, it was noticed that the abundant 

(XXV) 


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XXVI 


material is available related to this Volume. This material is 
searched, classified and incorporated along with original material 
and is being published in three parts instead of original one 
part. Today this volume entirely is in new form. 

Shri Sushil Kumar Shinde, Hon’ble Chief Minister of 
Maharashtra, is well known for his concern for upliftment 
of the deprived and disadvantaged sections of the society. In 
his political career spanning several decades, Hon’ble, Shinde 
had done yeomen service to the welfare and upliftment of the 
weaker sections. Despite multifarious governmental activities 
and pressing problems, Hon’ble Chief Minister has taken keen 
interest in reviewing the progress of this unique project from time 
to time and offered useful suggestions for effective presentation. 
He is a source of strength to us. We are deeply indebted to him. 
We, therefore, place on record our deep sense of gratitude. 

Shri Chhagan Bhujbal, the Hon’ble Deputy Chief Minister of 
Maharashtra, despite his busy schedule, he extended unstinted 
cooperation to Committee. We express our sincere thanks to him. 

Prof. Shri Laxmanrao Dhobale, Hon’ble Minister for Higher 
Education, Government of Maharashtra is the President of 
Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar Source Material Publication Committee. 
As the head of the Source Material Committee, Hon’ble Dhobale 
has brought luster and dignity to the proceedings, and took 
active part in its deliberations. He came out with practical 
suggestions for proper functioning of the committee. As the 
Executive Head of the Department of Higher Education, Hon’ble 
Dhobale, nurtured the committee with tender care, caution 
and extended all the help expected from him. He deserves our 
respectful and grateful thanks. 

Shri Anis Ahmad, Hon’ble Minister of State for Higher 
and Technical Education, Government of Maharashtra, is 
the Member of the Committee. Despite his busy schedule, he 
extended unstinted cooperation. His meaningful participation in 
the proceedings of the committee is commendable. We express 
our sincere thanks to him. 

Shri R. S. Gawai, Hon’ble Member of Parliament 
(Rajya Sabha) is the senior most and the most respected 
member of this Committee. He is associated with the 
Ambedkarite Movements and instrumental in formulation 
of number of governmental schemes for amelioration 

(XXVI) 


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XXVII 


of the conditions of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. 
He has a vast and rich parliamentary experience. As a 
revolutionary and purposeful politician, Shri Gawai Saheb 
is respected by one and all. Shri Gawai Saheb has brought 
glory to the Source Material Committee. On many occasions 
he presided over the meetings of the committee, when the 
President was busy with urgent governmental work. He has 
been a source of inspiration to the members of the Editorial 
Board. As an elderly figure, he richly deserves our grateful 
thanks. 

Right from beginning to the movement of the publication 
of this volume has been made possible by guidance, help, 
support and cooperation from Hon. Sharad Pawar, Hon. 
Vilasrao Deshmukh, Hon. Dilip Walase Patil, Hon. Jayant 
Patil. We place on record our deep sense of gratitude. 

Shri Prakash Ambedkar, Member of Parliament (Lok 
Sabha); Shri Ramdas Athawale, Member of Parliament (Lok 
Sabha); Prof. Jogendra Kawade, M. L. C, Shri T. M. Kamble 
and Mrs. Meenakshi V. Moon encouraged the Editorial Board. 
We are very much thankful to them. 

Smt. Chandra Iyengar, I.A.S. Principal Secretary, 
Department of Higher and Technical Education, Government 
of Maharashtra, extended whole heartedly and unreserved 
cooperation to the Source Material Committee and the Members 
of the Editorial Board whenever they approached her for any 
help of material or financial. We place on record our deep 
sense of appreciation and gratitude to her. We expect the 
same cooperation in future. 

Shri AKD Jadhav, Principal Secretary, Finance; Shri Suresh 
Gaikwad, Joint Secretary finance and Dr. Sanjay Chahande, 
Joint Secretary to Chief Minister’s Secretariat showed keen 
interest in expediting the project. We express our special 
thanks to them. 

Dr. S. N. Pathan, Director of Higher Education, Government 
of Maharashtra, deserves a special mention. The Committee 
as well as the Editorial Board has received all the necessary 
and timely help from him. He never said, no to any of the 
demand presented before him. We express our special thanks 
to him. 


(XXVII) 


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XXVIII 


Dr. A. D. Sawant, Joint Director, Higher Education, 
Mumbai, Shri Rathod, Joint Director, Higher Education, 
Nagpur, Shri Uttam Sonawane, Deputy Director of Govt. 
Printing, Stationary and Publication, Mumbai, Shri Prahlad 
Jadhav, Director, Govt. Information and Public relations, 
Shri Jayant Gaikwad, Deputy Secretary Finance, Shri R. K. 
Gaikwad, Deputy Secretary, G.A.D., Dr. Harshdip Ramble, 
Deputy Secretary Home, Mrs. Sonalsmith Patil, Desk Officer, 
Finance, deserve our appreciation for their unflinching support 
and timely help. 

Special thanks are due to Shri Malvankar, Deputy Secretary, 
Higher Education, Shri Mangesh Chitle, Private Secretary to 
Minister for Higher Education, Shri Gautam Sonandkar, P. A. 
to Minister for Higher Education for their unstinted cooperation. 

We take this opportunity to thank Dr. Krishna M. Ramble 
and Dr. Siddharth J. Ramble for having readily agreed to co- 
operate in ‘ this venture for days together. 

We wish to record our deep sense of gratitude to 
Dr. Shrinivas Khandewale who not only encouraged and guided 
us to prepare this volume but also offered valuable suggestions. 

We place on record valuable suggestions rendered by 
Subhamani N. Busi, Former Member of Customs, Excise and 
Gold (Control), Appellate Tribunal. We are thankful to him. 
We also take the opportunity to thank Shri M.P. Gaikwad, 
Former Director, Reserve Bank of India. 

We owe our sincere thanks to Prof. Anand R. Gajway, 
Dr. M. S. Wankhede, Prof. Parish C. Bhagat, Prof. Gautam K. 
Ramble accomplusing this project. Similarly thanks are due 
to Dinesh V. Ramteke, Pramod N. Ramble and Prof. Naval 
Thorat. 

Our cheerful thanks to Vijay B. Gaikwad, Pradeep Gaikwad 
and Vinod Ate for providing photos. 

We would be failing in our duty if we forget to Vasant 
Moon, founder Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Research Institute, 
Hanumannagar Nagpur., R. T. Shinde, R. L. Rain, 
Dr. Gangadhar Pantawane, A. S. Ranpise, W. V. Moon, V. B. 
Kadam, B. B. Kamble, Bhagwan Das who spared literature. 


(XXVIII) 


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We owe our special thanks to Prof. D. M. Thobre and 
Dr. Vijay Kavimandan for their timely help in this work. We 
also take this opportunity to thank Mrs. Shalaka Tambe, 
Mrs. Sumitra Nevarekar, Shri Kamalakar Nilvarna, Shri 
Maruti Padave and Shri Vijay Vaidya for their co-operation. 

Shri M. S. Gaikwad, Manager, Government Printing 
Press, Nagpur ; Shri Milind Shinde, Manager, Shivraj Litho 
Press, Nagpur; Shri R. D. More, former Manager ; Shri S. P. 
Meshram, former Junior Asstt. Manager and the staff of the 
Government Printing Press, Nagpur deserve full appreciation 
and thanks for their expeditious printing with utmost care 
and sincerity. 



N. G. Kamble (I.P.S. Retd.) Prof. Ashok Godghate 


(XXIX) 


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BLANK 


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CONTENTS 


Sr. No. 
(1) 

Subject 

(2) 

Page 

(3) 


FOREWORD 

(XI) 


PREFACE 

(XV) 


EDITORIAL 

Section — I 

MAHAD SATYAGRAHA 
Mahad Satyagraha not for Water but to Establish 

(XVII) 


Human Rights 

Section — II 

DR. AMBEDKAR-MAHATMA GANDHI 
MEETINGS 

3 

1 . 

I have no Homeland 

51 

2. 

Why I should be Proud of that Religion 

57 

3. 

What more Gandhi expected from the 



Sanatanists ? 

59 

4. 

To take Legal steps against High Caste Hindus 



who harassed Untouchables 

Section — III 

ROLE OF DR. B. R. AMBEDKAR IN BRINGING 
THE UNTOUCHABLES ON THE POLITICAL 
HORIZON OF INDIA AND LAYING A FOUNDA- 

60 


TION OF INDIAN DEMOCRACY 
Section — IV 

KALARAM TEMPLE ENTRY SATYAGRAHA, 

63 


NASIK AND TEMPLE ENTRY MOVEMENT 
Section — V 
MOVEMENTS 

181 

1 . 

I am a Man of Character 

211 

2. 

Instead of a Statue, a Public Library will be the 



Best Memorial of Sir Mehta 

218 


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CONTENTS — Contd. 


Sr. No. 

Subject 

Page 

(1) 

(2) 

(3) 

3. 

Public Bodies should help Canvasser 

221 

4. 

Bhaurao Path’s Institution deserves Support 

222 

5. 

Complaint against me is Absolutely Unfounded 

223 

6. 

Forwarding letter 

227 

7. 

Pay more Attention to Economic, Educational 
and Social Improvement rather than Temple 
Entry 

228 

8. 

Nothing can Emancipate the Outcastes except 
the Destruction of Caste System 

230 

9. 

Depressed Classes Against Second Chambers 

231 

10. 

Remove basis of ‘Smriti’ religion 

235 

11. 

Hindus should not be Indifferent to Conversion 
of Depressed Classes 

239 

12. 

Rights not affected in the event of Conversion 

244 

13. 

Conversion Movement sans Selfish Motive 

250 

14. 

The Independent Labour Party : A Source for 
Betterment of the Depressed Classes 

254 

15. 

Civil Liberties of Indians 

255 

16. 

In any other Country such a Minister would have 
been dismissed 

256 

17. 

Socialists now Inactive 

258 

18. 

Let such Institutions grow in to big Libraries 

259 

19. 

A Bill to Control and Regulate Money — Lending 

260 

20. 

I shall stand for Principle and will fight alone for 
it 

284 

21. 

Ministry seems to be Intoxicated with power 

285 

22. 

Injustice to Tillers of Soil 

288 


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CONTENTS — Contd. 


Sr. No. 

Subject 

Page 

(1) 

(2) 

(3) 

23. 

Dr. Ambedkar challenges Gwyer Award 

290 

24. 

I am Anxious more than Mr. Jinnah 

300 

25. 

When Buddha stopped animal Sacrifices, Cows 
were sanctified by them 

302 

26. 

Mahars have been Martial People 

306 

27. 

Representation relating to the Grievances of the 
Watandar Mahars, Mangs etc. 

308 

28. 

I shall be more Deadly against the Britishers than 
Hindus if 

339 

29. 

Exclusion of Depressed Classes from Viceroy’s 
Council as an outrage and Breach of Faith 

340 

30. 

Conference of all Leaders of the Depressed 
Classes all over India 

341 

31. 

Dr. Ambedkar and the Jewish People 

342 

32. 

I am not least interested in Formation of Ministry 

345 

33. 

Hinduism is Political Ideology as the same 
Character As 

346 

34. 

We are a Separate Element in the National Life 

349 

35. 

Scheduled Castes Settlement be made at par with 
Bantus 

351 

36. 

Hindus always regarded Scheduled Castes as 
‘Out side the Pale’ of Hindu Society 

352 

37. 

Scheduled Castes’ case to be presented before 
U. N. 0. 

358 

38. 

I fail to understand Attlee’s Statement 

361 

39. 

Secure Adequate Safeguards for the Untouchables 

362 

40. 

Indian Census 

365 


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C ONTENTS —Contd. 


Sr. No. 

Subject 

Page 

(1) 

(2) 

(3) 

41. 

Scheduled Castes in Pakistan should come over 
to India 

366 

42. 

Scheduled Caste Refugees neglected 

369 

43. 

Government should be Impartial 

376 

44. 

Be your own Light ! 

378 

45. 

Hinduism is the Latest Development of Social 
Thought in India 

383 

46. 

Scheduled Caste’s Emancipation — Draft 
Manifesto 

385 

47. 

Resignation not due to illness 

404 

48. 

Alliances with other Parties whose Objectives 
are not opposed to those of Federation 

406 

49. 

No man should be the Judge in his own case 

407 

50. 

Election Petition 

408 

51. 

Communists in Maharashtra 

425 

52. 

Starving People ask for Bread 

426 

53. 

Buddhist Seminary to be started in Bangalore 

428 

54. 

Buddhism disappeared from India due to 
Wavering Attitude of the Laity 

430 

55. 

I’m prepared to save your Life provided 

431 

56. 

The Political Party does not exist for winning 
Election, but for Educating, Agitating and 
Organizing the People 

435 

57. 

A letter to Jawaharlal Nehru regarding the Book 
‘Buddha and His Dhamma’ 

444 

58. 

Bhikhus should serve the Buddha by becoming 
Preachers of His Dhamma 

446 

59. 

I believe, my People will sacrifice Everything to 
Establish Buddhism in India 

449 


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C ONTENTS — Contd. 


Sr. No. 

Subject 

Page 

(1) 

(2) 

(3) 

Appendix — I : 

APPENDICES 

Brute force will not sustain 
Untouchability 

453 

Appendix — II : 

Man’s Inhumanity to Man 

456 

Appendix — III : 

Orthodoxy run mad 

459 

Appendix — IV : 

Gandhi- Vallabhbhai Meeting on Eve 
of Poona-Pact 

461 

Appendix — V : 

Comments on Round Table 
Conference and Poona-Pact 

464 

Appendix — VI : 

Dr. Ambedkar is now putting 
Mr. Gandhi to an Acid Test 

470 

Appendix — VII : 

Dr. Ambedkar wanted an Extension 
in America 

472 

Appendix — VIII : 

: For the present Dr. Ambedkar must 
work as a Probationer in Accounts 
Department 

473 

Appendix — IX : 

Take early action to repay your Debt. 

475 

Appendix — X : 

Reaction on the Statement dated 
19-6-1936 issued by Dr. B. R. 
Ambedkar on Conversion 

476 


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SECTION I 

MAHAD SATYAGRAHA 


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MAHAD SATYAGRAHA 3 

MAHAD SATYAGRAHA* NOT FOR WATER 
BUT TO ESTABLISH HUMAN RIGHTS 

‘The Sun of self-respect had now arisen in the sky and the 
clouds of oppression had begun to flit away. The Depressed 
Classes began to look up. And we now come to a momentous 
event in the life of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. That event was 
a march on Mahad. This had its origin in the important 
resolution of the Bombay Legislative Council moved by S. K. 
Bole and adopted by the Bombay Government. In pursuance 
of the Bole resolution passed in 1923 and reaffirmed with a 
slight change in 1926, the Mahad Municipality had thrown 
open the Chawdar Tank to the Untouchables. However, the 
resolution of the Municipality remained a mere gesture in 
that the Untouchables had not exercised their right owing to 
the hostility of the caste Hindus. 

It was, therefore, decided by the Kolaba District Depressed 
Classes to hold a Conference at Mahad on March 19 and 20, 
1927. The leaders of the Conference had notified Dr. Ambedkar 
the date of the Conference in the first week of the previous 
month. Arrangements for the Conference were made with care 
by Surendranath Tipnis, Subhedar Savadkar and Anantrao 
Chitre. For the past two months workers and leaders had 
trodden hills and dales in the vicinity and had roused the 
Depressed Classes to the importance of the Conference. As 
a result, boys of fifteen to old men of seventy from far and 
near plodded distances of over hundred miles with bundles 
containing pieces of bread hanging from their shoulders and 
reached Mahad. About ten thousand delegates, workers and 
leaders of the Depressed Classes from almost all the districts 
of Maharashtra and Gujarat attended the Conference. 

Every care had been taken, every convenience was provided, 
and every means was adopted to make the Conference a 
success. Water worth rupees forty was purchased from the 
Caste Hindus to satisfy the needs of the Conference, for 
water was not available to the Untouchables at the place of 
the Conference. 

Dr. Ambedkar rose to deliver his presidential address to 
the half-clad, embarrassed, earnest men and women and began 
it in his simple, short and forceful sentences. With a strange 


*Resisting injustice with soul force. 


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4 


4 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

agitation in his voice he described the conditions of Dapoli 
where he had received the first rudiments of education and 
said that one was attracted to the place where one passed 
one’s childhood and the beautiful scenery surrounding it 
deepened one’s love for such a place. He recalled the days 
of his childhood and said : “There was a time when we, who 
are condemned as Untouchables, were much advanced, much 
ahead in education compared with communities other than the 
advanced classes. This part of the country was then pulsating 
with the action and authority of our people.” 

With great earnestness he then delivered a message to his 
people which echoed throughout the hills, dales and villages 
of Maharashtra. Declaring that the demilitarisation was one 
of the causes of their downfall, he said : “ The military offered 
us unique opportunities of raising our standard of life and 
proving our merit and intellect, courage and brilliance as army 
officers. In those days Untouchables could also be headmasters 
of military schools and compulsory primary education in the 
military camps was very effective and wholesome.” “It is 
nothing less than a betrayal and a treachery,” he went on, 
“on the part of the British to have closed the doors of the 
army to the Untouchables who had helped them establish the 
Indian Empire while their home Government was at grips 
with the French during the Napoleonic War.” 

Then in an inspiring tone he said : “No lasting progress 
can be achieved unless we put ourselves through a three-fold 
process of purification. We must improve the general tone of 
our demeanour, re-tone our pronunciations and revitalise our 
thoughts. I, therefore, ask you now to take a vow from this 
moment to renounce eating carrion. It is high time that we 
rooted out from our mind the ideas of highness and lowness 
among ourselves. Make an unflinching resolve not to eat 
the thrown-out crumbs. We will attain self-elevation only 
if we learn self-help, regain our self-respect, and gain self- 
knowledge.” He further urged his people to agitate against 
the Government ban on their entry into the Army, Navy and 
Police, and impressed upon them the importance of entering 
Government services and of education. Turning to the question 
of Mahars, he tweaked their self-respect by telling them 


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5 4A 


The Historical Chawdar Tank at Mahad 



This Conference is held to unfurl the banner of Equality 
and thus may be likened to the National Assembly in France 
convened in 1789. 


Dr. B.R. Ambedkar 



SJ+YS 


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6 


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5 


MAHAD SATYAGRAHA 5 

that it was utterly disgraceful to sell their human rights for 
a few crumbs of bread, and appealed to them fervently to do 
away with the humiliating, enslaving traditions, to abandon 
their Vatans and seek forest lands for agricultural pursuits. 
In conclusion, in a moving tone he said: “There will be no 
difference between parents and animals if they will not desire 
to see their children in a better position than their own.” 

The Conference passed resolutions on important subjects. 
By one resolution the Conference appealed to the Caste 
Hindus to help the Untouchables secure their civic rights, to 
employ them in services, offer food to Untouchable students, 
and bury their dead animals themselves. Lastly, it appealed 
to Government to prohibit the Untouchables by special laws 
from eating carrion, enforce prohibition, provide them with free 
and compulsory primary education, give aid to the Depressed 
Classes hostels and make the ‘Bole Resolution’ a living reality 
by enjoining upon the local bodies, if necessary, to proclaim 
section 144 of Indian Criminal Procedure Code at their places, 
for its enforcement. 

On the first day, a few caste Hindu spokesmen, local as 
well as outsiders, made speeches justifiying the rights of the 
Depressed Classes and promised them help. The Subjects 
Committee, which met that night, decided, after taking the 
sense of the leaders of the upper classes who attended the 
Conference, that the Conference should go in a body to the 
Chawdar Tank and help the Depressed Classes to establish 
their right to take water. Next morning the Conference called 
upon two caste Hindu spokesmen to support the resolution 
regarding the duties and responsibilities of the Caste Hindus. 
Excluding the clause regarding inter-caste marriage, they both 
supported the resolution. 

In pursuance of the resolution of the Mahad Municipality 
which in 1924 had declared to have thrown open its Tank 
to the Depressed Classes, it was now decided to take water 
from the Tank and establish the right of the Untouchables. 
The delegates accordingly began to march peacefully 
in a body to the Chawdar Tank to assert their right of 
taking water from the Tank. And now the momentous 
event, great in its magnitude and far-reaching in its 
consequences, was taking place. Anti-slavery, anti-caste, 


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6 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

anti-priest. Dr. Ambedkar, who represented the awakened 
spirit of the Untouchable Hindus, was marching towards the 
Tank from which the Muslims and Christians took water 
along with the so-called touchable Hindus, but from which 
the Untouchable Hindus who worshipped the Hindu Gods, 
stuck to the same Hindu religion through ages past, were, 
although their throats parched with thirst, not allowed to 
take even a drop of water. 

Thus, led for the first time in their history by a great 
leader of their own, the Untouchables were marching to 
vindicate their rights. They all displayed discipline, energy 
and enthusiasm. The march wended its way through the 
streets of Mahad and terminated at the Chawdar Tank. 
Dr. Ambedkar himself was now standing on the verge of the 
Tank. Enlightened among the enlightened, the equal of any 
erudite man on earth, a Hindu of noble aspirations, yet unable 
even to take water from a public watercourse or to read in a 
public library in Hindustan, the land of his birth and faith, 
was now defying the arrogance of the tyrants, exposing the 
baseness of a people who boasted that their religion treated 
even animals with forbearance, but who treated their co- 
religionists worse than cats and dogs. 

Dr. Ambedkar took water from the Tank and drank it. The 
vast multitude of men followed suit and vindicated their right. 
The processionists then returned peacefully to the pandal. 

Two hours after this event, some evil-minded caste Hindus 
raised a false rumour that the Untouchables were also planning 
to enter the temple of Veereshwar. At this a large crowd of 
riffraff armed with bamboo sticks collected at street corners. 
All orthodox Mahad was up in arms and the whole town at 
once became a surging mass of rowdies. They said that their 
religion was in danger, and strangely enough they clamoured 
that their God, too, was in danger of being polluted ! Their 
hearts fluttered, their hands shivered, and their faces were 
ablaze with anger at this humiliating challenge. 

Enraged at this misconstrued outrage on their religion and 
at the thought of defilement of the temple of Veereshwar, the 
caste Hindus dashed into the pandal of the Depressed Classes 
Conference. Many of the delegates were at that time scattered in 


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7 


MAHAD SATYAGRAHA 7 

small groups in the city. Some were busy packing and a few 
were taking their meals before dispersing for their villages. 
The majority of the delegates had by now left the town. The 
rowdies pounced upon the delegates in the pandal, knocked 
down their food in the dust, pounded the utensils and 
belaboured some before they knew what had happened. There 
was utter confusion in the pandal. Up-till now the orthodox 
had lost their conscience. They now showed signs of losing 
their senses ! 

Untouchable children, women and delegates, who were 
strolling in the streets of Mahad, were frightened at the 
sudden sweep of this event. Stray individuals amongst them 
were beaten. They had to run into Muslim houses for shelter. 
The local Mamlatdar and the Police Inspector, who failed to 
check the rowdies, saw Dr. Ambedkar in this matter at four 
O’clock in the evening at the Travellers Bungalow where 
Dr. Ambedkar and his party were staying during the days of 
the Conference. “You control others, I will control my people,” 
said Dr. Ambedkar to the officers, and he hurried to the scene 
with two or three of his lieutenants. In the street a batch of 
rowdies mobbed him, but he calmly tried to soothe them by 
telling that there was no desire nor any plan on their part to 
enter the temple. He went ahead, saw things for himself and 
returned to the Bungalow. Up to this moment about twenty 
persons from the Untouchables were seriously wounded. A 
doctor was sent for. He came. He jeered at them for their 
“ill-timed” adventure and dressed their wounds ! 

The rowdies then began patrolling the main streets and 
assaulting members of the Depressed Classes who were in 
stray batches on the way to their villages. But the most 
reprehensible part of their conduct was that they sent messages 
to their henchmen to punish the delegates of the Conference 
in their respective villages. In obedience to this mandate 
assaults were committed on a number of Mahar men and 
women either before or after they had reached their villages. 

Meanwhile, this news of the brutal attack on the delegates 
spread like wild fire. When Dr. Ambedkar returned to the 
bungalow, he saw about a hundred men impatiently awaiting his 


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8 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

orders, their eyes literally blazing with fire and their 
hands itching for retaliation and revenge. Their leader, 
however, appealed for peace and discipline. There was 
hushed silence for a while. A word of provocation from 
Dr. Ambedkar would have turned Mahad into a pool 
of blood and destruction. The number of delegates still 
lingering in the town, in the pandal and in the Bungalow 
together could have easily outnumbered the hooligans 
and battered down their skulls. Hundreds among the 
Untouchables were men who had seen, fought, and moved 
actively in the theatres and battles of the First World 
War. 

But discipline was wonderfully maintained at the 
behest of their leader. They set their faces against 
the aggressors. Their struggle was non-violent and 
constitutional. They did not dream of breaking the law. 
Thus a more serious riot was averted. At nightfall all the 
delegates left for their respective villages. Dr. Ambedkar 
with his lieutenant, Anantrao Chitre, left the bungalow as 
it was booked by a Government Officer from that evening, 
and took up his residence in the police station rooms. 
He completed his inquiry into the riot and returned to 
Bombay on 23rd March. 

Policemen appeared on the scene after the storm was 
over. They arrested some of the orthodox rowdies as 
trespassers. Out of the nine orthodox Hindu heroes, five 
who were found to be most valorous, were, afterwards 
on June 6,1927, sentenced by the District Magistrate to 
four months’ rigorous imprisonment. Dr. Ambedkar was 
not far from truth when he remarked that had not the 
chief officers in the District been non-Hindus, justice 
would not have been administered impartially to the 
Untouchables. Under Peshwa rule, he said, he would have 
been trampled to death by an elephant. And it was the 
Peshwa rule under which Untouchables were not allowed 
to enter the city of Poona during certain hours by day- 
time, and when they were admitted at other times they 
had to walk in the city with earthen pots hanging from 
their necks to spit into.” 1 


J : Keer, Pp. 69-71,73-77. 


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MAHAD SATYAGRAHA 9 

Mahad Conference-Report By ‘The Bombay Chronicle’ 

A Conference of the Depressed Classes of the Kolaba District 
was held at Mahad on the 19th and 20th instants [i.e. of 
March 1927] under the Presidentship of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, 
Bar-at-Law. The attendance of the Depressed Classes was over 
2,500 and great enthusiasm prevailed. But the work of the 
Conference was severely marred by a riot, the responsibility 
for which rests entirely upon the upper class Hindu residents 
of the town of Mahad. On the first day of the Conference after 
the President had delivered his address, several Upper Class 
Hindus addressed the Conference assuring the Depressed 
Classes that, they were willing to help them in all ways 
and urging that the Depressed Classes should not cultivate 
hatred of the Upper Class Hindus. In pursuance of this the 
Subjects Committee drafted a resolution among others laying 
down what the Upper Class Hindus should do for the uplift of 
the Depressed Classes. In the Subjects Committee attention 
was drawn by some people to the fact that there was a great 
difficulty at Mahad for the Depressed Classes in obtaining 
water for drinking purposes and that this difficulty was felt 
not only by the resident Depressed Classes of Mahad but also 
by the Depressed Classes from villages who resorted to Mahad 
for private business or for the purposes of Government work. 
So great was the scarcity that water worth Rs. 15 had to be 
bought each day to satisfy the needs of the Conference. The 
Municipality of Mahad had sometime ago passed a resolution 
declaring the tanks in the city to be open to the public but 
as it had not placed a board there, people feared to resort to 
them. The Subjects Committee, therefore, decided after taking 
the sense of the upper classes who attended the Conference 
in this matter, that the Conference should go in body to the 
Chawdar Tank and help the Depressed Classes in establishing 
their right to take water. 

A False Rumour 

When, therefore, the Conference met on the morning of the 
20th, and the first resolution which declared what the Upper 
Classes should do for the Depressed Classes was put before 
the Conference by members of Depressed Classes the President 
requested Messrs Purushottam Prabhakar Joshi and Govind 


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10 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Narayan Dhariya [as representatives of the upper classes] to 
speak on the resolution. With the exception of one clause in 
the resolution dealing with inter-marriages they both accepted 
the resolution. Having thus assured itself that there was 
general support behind it the Conference when the Session 
was over, went in body to the said tank. The procession was a 
most peaceful one and everything passed off quietly. But after 
about two hours some evil minded leaders of the town raised 
a false rumour that the Depressed Classes were planning to 
enter the temple of Vireshwar, whereupon a large crowed of 
riff raffs, all armed with bamboo sticks were collected. The 
crowd soon became aggressive and the whole town at once 
became a surging mass of rowdies who seemed to be out for 
the blood of the Depressed Classes. 

Twenty Wounded 

The Depressed Classes were busy in taking their meal 
before dispersing to their villages. When a large part of them 
had left the town the rowdies entered the kitchen where 
the Depressed Classes were taking their food. There would 
have been a regular battle between the two forces; but the 
Depressed Classes were held back by their leaders and thus 
a far more serious riot was averted. The rowdies finding no 
occasion for provocation began patrolling the main street and 
assaulting the members of the Depressed Classes who in stray 
batches were passing along on their way to their villages 
and committed trespass in the houses of several Depressed 
Class people and gravely assaulted them. In all, the number 
of wounded, among the Depressed Classes is supposed to be 
as large as 20. In this the attitude of the Depressed Classes 
was commendable whereas the attitude of many of the Upper 
Classes was unworthy. The Depressed Classes assembled 
vastly out-numbered the Upper Classes. But as the object 
of their leaders was to do everything in a non-violent and 
absolutely constitutional manner they set their faces against 
any aggression on the part of the Depressed Classes. It speaks 
a great deal in favour of the Depressed Classes that although 
the provocation given to them was immense they kept their 
self-control. The Mahad Conference has shown that the Upper 
Classes are not willing to allow the Depressed Classes to 
enjoy such elementary civic rights as taking water from public 
water-courses. 


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MAHAD SATYAGRAHA 11 

The most reprehensible part of the conduct of the Upper 
Caste Hindus in Mahad and Kolaba District was that messages 
were sent immediately to the different villages asking the upper 
class people there to punish the delegates of the Conference as 
soon as they returned to their respective villages. In obedience 
to this mandate assaults were committed on a number of 
Mahars returning from the Conference either before or after 
they reached their villages where the Depressed Classes have 
the disadvantage of being overwhelmingly out-numbered 
by the Upper Caste Hindus. The leaders of the Depressed 
Classes have appealed to the authorities for protection and the 
District Officials includding the D. S. P. are making enquiries 
on the spot. It must, however, be stated that if the Resident 
Magistrate had not allowed two precious hours to pass without 
doing anything the riot would have probably been averted.” 

“Thus ended the first big, open Conference of the Depressed 
Classes in Maharashtra and their first public attempt to assert 
their civic rights. This Conference was a great and momentous 
event, the opening of an epoch in the history of Hindustan. 
It was an event which changed both Dr. Ambedkar’s personal 
life and the current of social and national reorganization. 

Under the leadership of their saviour, the down-trodden, 
the dehumanised and dumb millions opened a new chapter 
in the annals of India. They not only voiced their age-long 
grievances but also took on themselves energetically to mitigate 
them. They now summoned up courage and showed the right 
spirit in standing boldly and shaking off the dust from their 
feet and faces. 

The struggle inaugurated by their educated leaders 
gripped their minds and enkindled the flame of self-respect 
and self-elevation. They now smarted under the insults and 
humiliations inflicted upon them at Mahad. They applied their 
minds to self-improvement and self-culture as never before. As 
a result of this Conference, the Untouchables gave up eating 
carrion, skinning carcasses, and stopped begging for crumbs. 

And what happened to the Chawdar Tank that was declared 
to have been desecrated by the touch of untouchable Hindus ? The 
orthodox and reactionary Hindus called a meeting at the temple of 


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12 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Veereshwar to consider the question of the purification of 
the tank. They had a remedy for purifying any damned 
and polluted earthly thing. To them a mixture of cow- 
dung, cow-urine, curd and water was the potent remedy 
for all manner of pollution. Accordingly water in one 
hundred and eight earthern pots was taken out from the 
tank. These pots full of curd, cow-dung, milk and cow- 
urine were dipped in the tank in the midst of air-rending 
Mantras uttered by Brahmin priests, the elect. It was 
then declared that water was purified for the use of the 
caste Hindus. Of course, Mohammadans and Christians 
had nothing to do with the act or process of purification. 
For, in their eyes human touch did not pollute water. 
They used the water of the tank as before without any 
interruption. * 

The news of the so-called purification of the Chawdar 
Tank lacerated the hearts of the Depressed Classes, and 
so deep was the wound on Dr. Ambedkar’s heart that 
he grew indignant and decided to launch a satyagraha 
struggle for the vindication of his people’s rights. Some 
feared that this ‘impatient’ remedy was worse than the 
disease. Dr. Ambedkar, in a mood of righteous indignation, 
replied that mere spread of education and exposition of 
the scriptures would not be able to root out that age- 
long diesease. The disease, he said, was deep-rooted 
and merely dressing it with bandages of knowledge or 
ingenuous schemes would not cure it. Deadly diseases 
required drastic remedies. 

Accordingly, it was announced on June 26, 1927, 
in the Bahishkrit Bharat that those members of the 
Depressed Classes who wanted to wash out the stigma 
of pollution attached to their whole class by the Mahad 
Hindus by their act of purification of the Tank, and who 
wanted to denounce the act of assaults committed on 
their representatives for having taken water from the 
Chawdar Tank, should enlist themselves at the office of the 


*See Appendices-I, II and III. 


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MAHAD SATYAGRAHA 13 

Bahishkrit Hitakarini Sabha in Bombay. It was declared 
that the satyagraha struggle was to be launched under 
the auspices of the said institution.” 1 

Police Report of Agitational Programme of Dr. Ambedkar : 

I 

“The Depressed Classes at Mahad : Protest of 
Bombay Untouchables against the atrocities inflicted 
on 

Bombay City S. B., July 4, 1927. — Under the auspices of 
the Bahishkrit Hitakarani Sabha, a public meeting of the 
Depressed Classes was held at the Cowasji Jehangir Hall 
on the evening of July 3 to protest against the hardships 
inflicted on the Untouchables of Mahad in Kolaba District. 
Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, Bar-at-Law, presided over 
an audience of about 1,000 people. 

Speeches were made by the president, Ragoba Narayan 
Vanmali, Mahadeo Abaji Kamli, Sitaram Namdeo 
Shivtarkar, Nirmal Limbaji Gangavane, Gitanand 
Brahmachari and Samant Nanji Marwari, condemning 
the treatment meted out to their brethren in Mahad 
by the Higher Classes. They decided, in order to carry 
on a peaceful agitation against this treatment, to enlist 
volunteers and collect funds. They would first have a 
conference at Mahad after the Diwali holidays and then it 
would be decided to start Satyagraha in order to enforce 
their rights as citizens. A resolution to this effect was 
passed. 

Another resolution was passed requesting the 
Government to establish a separate department to deal 
with the grievances of the Depressed Classes as was done 
in Madras. 

An appeal for funds was made by the speakers and 
about Rs. 350 were collected. A dozen people consented 
to become volunteers for the Satyagraha movement when 
it is started.” 2 


1 : Keer. Pp. 77, 79, 89-90. 

2 : Bombay Secret Abstract, dated 16th July 1927. 


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14 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

II 

“Satyagraha of Untouchables at Mahad 

“At a conference of Mahars, Mangs, Bhangis, etc., held 
at Mahad in Kolaba District in March last, the delegates 
were prohibited by orthodox people from using the water 
of the village tank and the prohibition is reported to have 
resulted in a criminal case against those who took the 
law into their own hands. Since this incident there has 
been some excitement among the Untouchables of Bombay 
in which Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, Bar-at-Law, has 
been taking the lead. 

In connection with this, a meeting of about a thousand 
Untouchables was held at Sir Cowasji Jehangir Hall under 
the presidency of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar on the afternoon 
of October 30. The president explained the facts which 
led to the incident at Mahad and which compelled the 
Untouchables to stand up for the protection of their rights. 
A resolution was passed by which it was decided to hold a 
conference at Mahad on December 25 in order to establish 
their right of using water at the public tank and in the 
event of any prohibition to launch a Satyagraha movement. 
About Rs. 570 were collected at the meeting. There was 
also a suggestion from the audience to launch a similar 
compaign in connection with a temple at Amravati in the 
middle of November.” 1 


1 : Source Material Vol. I, P. 13. 


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MAHAD SATYAGRAHA 15 

III 

No. H/3447 

dated 22nd December 1927. 

“To, 

The D. S. P., 

Kolaba, Alibag. 

Sir, 

Reference . — Para 868 of the B. S. A. current. 

In this connection a meeting of the Depressed Classes was 
held on the night of 21st instant when Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, 
Bar-at-Law presided over an audience of about 250 people. 
The President, Sambhaji Santoji Waghmare, Nimandarkar, 
Kholwadekar and Junnarkar made speeches advising the 
people to join the Satyagraha Movement which is coming off on 
the 25th instant at Mahad in connection with the prohibition 
against the Untouchables’ use of the water tank. 

I have & c. 

(Sd.) 

D. C. P., S. B. 

22nd December 1927. ,J1 

“Meantime, the Mahad Municipality revoked on August 4, 
1927, its resolution of 1924 under which it had declared 
the Chawdar Tank open to the Depressed Classes. 
Dr. Ambedkar accepted the challenge and on September 11, 
at a public meeting in Damodar Hall, Bombay, a committee 
was formed to devise ways and means to make the struggle 
for re-establishing the right of the Depressed Classes to the 
Mahad Tank a success, and to fix the dates and details. Four 
days afterwards the committee met at Dr. Ambedkar’s office 
and announced December 25 and 26, 1927, as the dates for 
offering the satyagraha. 

The day of the proposed Conference and the satyagraha 
at Mahad was drawing near. Mahad began to stir again. The 
opponents of the struggle held a meeting on November 27, 1927, at 
the Veereshwar Temple to formulate a plan to flout the attempts 
of Dr. Ambedkar and the Depressed Classes to take water from 


1 : Source Material, Vol. I, Pp. 13-14. 


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16 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

the Chawdar Tank. But owing to the presence of the 
sympathisers of the Depressed Classes the meeting ended in 
pandemonium. Some Poona Hindu leaders tried to dissuade 
the caste Hindus from opposing the struggle, but to no purpose. 

The District Magistrate visited Mahad on December 7, 
and the leaders of both the sides discussed the question with 
him. He asked the caste Hindus to have recourse to law and 
refused to issue an order prohibiting the Untouchables from 
taking water from the Chawdar Tank. The leaders of the 
orthodox section, therefore, filed a suit against Dr. Ambedkar, 
Shivtarkar and Krishnaji S. Kadam and Ganya Malu 
Chambhar of Mahad — leaders of the Depressed Classes — on 
December 12, 1927, in the Civil Court at Mahad and asked 
for the issue of a temporary injunction. The Court issued a 
temporary injunction on December 14, against the defendants 
pending the decision of the suit. Accordingly notices were 
served on Dr. Ambedkar, Shivtarkar and Krishnaji S. Kadam, 
prohibiting them and all the Depressed Classes or on their 
behalf these three leaders from going to the Chawdar Tank 
or from taking water from the Tank until further orders. 
The orthodox and reactionary forces shrewdly enough forced 
on Dr. Ambedkar a fight on two fronts. On the one side 
was standing an indifferent foreign Government and on the 
other was the caste Hindu section headed by the Orthodox 
Brahmins.” 1 

Text of Temporary Injunction in Chawdar Tank Case 

ORDER 

“This is an application asking the Court to grant to the 
applicants a temporary injunction restraining the opponents 
from going to the Chawdar Tank or taking water therefrom. 
The applicants have, on 12th 1927, filed in this Court, Regular 
Suit No. 405 of 1927, for obtaining a Declaration that the 
said Chawdar Tank is of the nature of private property of 
the touchable classes only and that the Untouchable Classes 
have no right to go to that tank nor take water therefrom 
and also for obtaining a perpetual injunction restraining the 
Defendants from doing any of these acts. 


1 :Keer, Pp. 90 and 97-98. 


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MAHAD SATYAGRAHA 17 

The applicants, by this application pray that pending 
the disposal the suit, a temporary injunction may be issued 
against the Defendants. The application states, among other 
things, that hundreds of years since the tank has been in the 
exclusive enjoyment of the touchable classes only, that on 19th 
March 1927. a number of persons of the Untouchable classes 
led by Defendant, all of a sudden entered the tank, washed 
their hands and faces with the water and thus contaminated 
it, that in consequence of this contamination the touchable 
classes could not take water from the tank for over 24/25 
hours i.e. until the water was purified, at a great cost, by 
performing ceremonies laid down by the Hindu Shastras, that 
great hardship was thus caused to the touchable classes, that 
the Untouchable classes have issued a manifesto proclaiming 
their intention of again entering the Tank and taking water 
therefrom, that if they are allowed to do that, the touchable 
classes will be debarred by the Shastras, from using the 
water of the Tank, that serious hardship would thus result 
to them and that if a temporary injunction as asked for is 
not granted and the Defendants allowed to contaminate the 
water of plaintiffs even if they finally succeed in the suit 
would not reap the benefit of the decree. 

The application is supported by the affidavits of several 
persons besides Plaintiff No. 1. Plaintiffs have also produced 
with exhibit 4, a notice issued by the Municipality against 
one Divakar Joshi (one of the persons making an affidavit) 
calling upon him to repair his stone Dhakkas (dams) which 
adjoined the side of the Chawdar Tank, and also a deed of 
partition of Dharap family alleged to be more than a hundred 
years old. This deed contains a reference to the Pal of the 
tank as being one of the properties partitioned. Both these 
documents raise a ‘Prima facie’ presumption of the tank being 
private property. 

The question now is, whether it would be more just to 
grant a temporary injunction to refuse it. The law regarding 
temporary injunctions is contained in order 39 of the Civil 
Procedure Code. Rule of this order is as follows : — Where 
in any suit it is proved by affidavit or otherwise (a) that 
any property in dispute in suit, is in danger of being 
wasted, damaged or alienated by any party to the suit, 
or wrongfully said in execution of a decree or (b) that the 


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18 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Defendant threatens, or intends, to remove or dispose of his 
property with a view to defraud his creditors, the Court may by 
order grant a temporary injunction. Clause (b) has obviously, 
no application to the present case. The present case appears 
to come within clause (a). 

Here is a Tank which has, for years since, been in the 
exclusive enjoyment of the touchable classes. The manifesto 
issued over the signatures of the Defendantl and other also 
shows that the Untouchable classes were upto now under 
the impression that they had no right of access to the tank. 
It thus appears that the tank has been until now in the 
exclusive enjoyment of the touchable classes. The question 
now is, whether the ends of justice would be better met by 
disturbing this old state of things or by allowing it to continue 
until the rights of the parties have been finally decided. 

The principles governing temporary injunctions have been 
summarised under part 2 of Mulla’s Commentary on the 
Civil Procedure Code, 8th edition page 892. One of these is 
that the Court must see that there is a bonafide contention 
between the parties. About this there appears to me to be very 
little doubt. The second principle is, “on which side, in the 
event of success, will lie the balance of inconvenience if the 
injunction does not issue.” To me it appears that the balance 
of inconvenience will lie, and lie very heavily, on the side of 
the Plaintiffs if an injunction is not issued. The point is so 
clear that I do not think I need labour it at all. 

If the Defendants are allowed to enter the tank and 
thus (according to the religious notions of the Plaintiffs) 
contaminate the water and render it until for further use, a 
large section of the population will be put to hardship and 
inconvenience which will be so severe that only those living 
in places where there are no copious supply of water, can 
realise it. On the other hand, the Defendants will not be 
put to any inconvenience what so ever, if they are asked to 
forbear from exercising what they consider to be their right, 
until the first decision to the suit. This course appears to 
me not only just and equitable, but the only right course 
under the circumstances in order to maintain the status quo, 
which, it is imperative to do. Vide the remark appearing 
at I. L. R. 46, Calcutta, page 1030, it is also contended 


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MAHAD SATYAGRAHA 19 

by the applicants (Plaintiffs) that if a temporary injunction 
as asked for is not granted and the water of the tank is 
allowed to be contaminated, irrepairable injury would result 
to the Plaintiffs. Taking into consideration, how sensitive 
the touchables classes generally are on this point, both on 
account of their religious susceptibilities, as well as the wide 
gulf which has existed between the two communnities from 
time immemorial, I am inclined to attach very great weight 
to this condition. I have no doubt that the spread of education 
will, in course of time, materially alter these conditions and 
bring the two communities in a clear and friendly contact 
with each other and that Untouchability will be a thing 
of the past. But as things at present stand, I am bound to 
attach great weight to the sentiment of the applicants who 
feel that, the injury that will sustain if the water is allowed 
to be contaminated, will be that it would not admit of being 
adequately compensated by damages. 

Taking all these circumstances into consideration, I think I 
would be failing in duty if I were not to refuse the injunction 
prayed for. It is a very painful duty that I am called upon 
to perform, but the call of duty leaves no room for choice. I 
therefore order that a temporary injunction as asked for, with 
notice be issued. 

14-12-27. (Sd.)— G. V. Vaidya ” 1 

On the side of Depressed Classes “Elaborate preparations 
for holding the Conference were made. As no Hindu landlord 
allowed the use of his land for the pandal, a site for the 
Conference was secured with great difficulty from a Muslim. 
As the local merchants refused to have any dealings with the 
men connected with the Conference, the Reception Committee 
had to purchase corn and other materials from out-side, 
sufficient to last for ten days. Anantrao Chitre managed the 
work very efficiently. Subhedar Ghatge was entrusted with 
the food arrangement and maintenance of order and discipline. 
All the Chief Government Executives of the District gathered 
at Mahad on December 19. Police were posted on all sides of 
the Chawdar Tank. Delegates and spectators began to pour in 


1 : Khairmode, Vol. 3, Pp. 234 — 237. 


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20 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Mahad from December 21. The District Magistrate visited their 
camp every day to dissuade the delegates from the proposed 
Satyagraha. 

With a batch of two hundred delegates and leaders, 
Dr. Ambedkar left Bombay on the morning of December 24. 
The next day they got down at noon at Dasgaon, five miles off 
Mahad. There, with anxious faces, an army of 3,000 satyagrahis 
awaited their leader. When they saw their leader, they greeted 
him with tumultuous applause. 

After the reception, the Police Superintendent handed 
over a letter from the District Magistrate to Dr. Ambedkar, 
requesting him to see the District Magistrate at his Mahad 
office without loss of time. Dr. Ambedkar, with one of his 
lieutenants, Sahasrabudhe, hurried to his office. The District 
Magistrate in a swift and soft tone advised, argued and pressed 
for the postponement of the struggle ; but the leader did not 
see eye to eye with the Chief Executive of the District. It was 
however, agreed that he should be given an opportunity to 
address the Conference. In the meanwhile, the procession of the 
delegates had left Dasgaon and accompanied by police officers, 
it reached Mahad at half past two in the afternoon, singing 
songs which were punctuated by sky-rending slogans. The vast 
crowd entered the pandal amidst shouts of ‘Shivaji Maharaj 
ki Jai’. In the pandal proverbs hanging from pillars displayed 
inspiring immortal truths. In front of the gate there was a pit. 

After his interview with the District Magistrate, 
Dr. Ambedkar hastened to the pandal and had his lunch in 
the company of his common followers. He refused to have any 
special food. 

The Conference commenced its proceedings at four-thirty in 
the evening. Messages from several prominent persons wishing 
the satyagraha success were read out. Then the leader rose to 
address the Conference amidst deafening cheers, shouts and 
slogans raised by a mammoth gathering of fifteen thousand 
people. A majority of them had no clothes to their backs. Their 
old turbans were torn, their chins were unshaven; but their 
sunburnt faces shone with a peculiar enthusiasm and hope. 
The vast audience calmed down, and Dr. Ambedkar began his 
speech in a low, dignified but forceful voice.” 1 


1 : Keer, Pp. 98-99. 


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MAHAD SATYAGRAHA 21 

“Dr. Ambedkar’s Plea for Abolition of Social 
Disabilities 

Following is a summary of the Presidential address of 
Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, M.A., Ph.D., D.Sc., Bar-at-Law, M.L.C.. 
delivered at the Satyagraha Conference at Mahad (District 
Kolaba) held on the 25th December 1927. 

Welcoming the Satyagrahis on behalf of the Satyagraha 
Committee, of which he is the president, Dr. Ambedkar 
reminded them of the unfortunate ending of the Conference 
held at the same place in March last when a number of their 
fellow delegates had been ill-treated and assaulted by the 
so-called Caste-Hindus for committing the offence of drawing 
the water from a Public Tank named “Chawdar”. Nobody 
prevented the members of the Depressed Classes from using 
the water of the tank, but some ringleaders took it into their 
heads to punish the delegates of the Conference after the 
event and incited the mob to commit assaults on them. Some 
of the offenders were prosecuted, convicted and sentenced to 
four months’ imprisonment. 

Continuing Dr. Ambedkar said : “Had the caste-Hindus 
admitted the right of the Depressed Classes to use the tank, 
this Satyagraha would not have been necessary. Unfortunately, 
however, the Caste-Hindus at this place are obstinate in 
their attitude and refuse to admit the right of the Depressed 
Classes to use the Public Tank which is open to persons of 
all castes including Mahomedans and other non-Hindus. The 
irony of the situation is that although the cattle owned by the 
so-called Untouchables are allowed to go, their owners, who 
are as good human beings as the other people, are prohibited 
from going to the tank. 

The Hindus are known for their humanitarian sentiments 
and their regard for animal life is proverbial. Some section do 
not kill even poisonous reptiles. The Hindus maintain a large 
army of Sadhus and able-bodied beggars, and believe that 
they acquire merit by feeding and clothing them and giving 
them cash for indulging in luxuries. The Hindu philosophy 
teaches the doctrine of an all-pervading soul, and the Geeta 
exhorts them to make no distinction between a Brahmin and 
a Chandal. 


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22 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

The question therefore arises why the Hindus having such 
traditions of charity and humanity and possessing such grand 
philosophy should behave so heartlessly towards their fellow 
human beings and in such unreasonable ways. In the reply 
to this question lies the real significance of this Conference. 
The Hindu Community is set in the steel-frame of the caste 
system, in which one caste is lower than another in social 
gradation involving particular privileges, rights, inhibitions 
and disabilities with regard to each caste. This system has 
created vested interests which depend upon maintaining the 
inequalities resulting from the system. 

The so-called Caste-Hindus are bitterly opposed to the 
Panchamas (person belonging to the fifth class, the Depressed 
Class) using a public tank not because they really believe that 
the water will be thereby spoiled or will evaporate if Mahars 
and others use the tank, but because they are afraid of losing 
their superiority of caste and of equality being established 
between the former and the latter. We are resorting to this 
Satyagraha not because we believe that the water of this 
particular tank has any exceptional qualities, but to establish 
our natural rights as citizens and human beings. 

Struggle for Equality 

This Conference is held to unfurl the banner of Equality 
and thus may be likened to the National Assembly in 
France convened in 1789. Our Conference aims at the same 
achievement in social, religious, civic and economic matters. 
We are avowedly out to smash the steel-frame of the caste- 
system. 

Low Aim Is A Crime 

Some men may say that this should be satisfied with the 
abolition of Untouchability only, leaving the caste-system 
alone. The aim of abolishing Untouchability alone without 
trying to abolish the inequalities inherent in the caste-system 
is a very low aim. Let us remember “not failure but low aim 
is a crime”. Let us probe the evil to its very roots and be not 
satisfied with mere palliatives to assuage our pain. If the 
disease is not rightly diagnosed the remedy will be useless 
and the cure may be postponed. 


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MAHAD SATYAGRAHA 23 

Not only Untouchability and restrictions regarding 
intercaste-dining must be removed, but inter-marriages among 
the Hindus of various castes must be made common. This 
alone will lead to the establishment of true-equality. Even 
supposing that the stigma of Untouchability is wiped out, what 
will be the status of the present Untouchables. At the most 
they will be treated as ‘Shudras’ . And what are the rights 
of the ‘Shudras’? The ‘Smrities’ treat them as mere zealots 
and the ‘Smrities’ are the guides of the caste Hindus in the 
matter of gradations in the caste system. Are you willing to 
be treated as ‘Shudras’?. Are you willing to accept the position 
of zealots ? Are you prepared to leave your fate in the hands 
of the upper class ? 

Self-Help 

That the caste-system must be abolished if the Hindu 
Society is to be reconstructed on the basis of equality, goes 
without saying. Untouchability has its roots in the caste- 
system. They cannot expect the Brahmins to rise in revolt 
against the caste-system, because that system confers on 
them certain special privileges and they will not willingly 
give up their privileged position and the present supremacy 
in the hierarchy of Hinduism as based on Smrities. It would 
be too much to expect them to resign all their privileges as 
the ‘Samurais’ of Japan did. Also we cannot rely upon the 
Non-Brahmins and ask them to fight our battle. Many of 
them are still enamoured of the caste-system and are tools 
in the hands of the Brahmins, and most of these others who 
resent the supremacy of the Brahmins are more interested 
in levelling down the Brahmins than in levelling up the 
suppressed classes. They too want a class of people on whom 
they can look down and have the satisfaction of not being quite 
the under-dogs of the Society. This means that we ourselves 
must fight our battles, relying on ourselves. We are the most 
downtrodden classes in the country. Services in the army, 
police and public offices are practically closed to us. We are 
debarred from following a number of trades and professions 
and we have been reduced to utter economic helplessness. 
All this is due to the Untouchability and the lowest social 
position to which we have been relegated. Should we fail to 
assert our rights as human beings and citizens we shall have 
to remain fallen forever. 


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24 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

A Real Service to the Nation 

Ours is a movement which aims at not only removing our 
own disabilities, but also at bringing about a social revolution, 
a revolution that will remove all man-made barriers of caste 
by providing equal opportunities to all to rise to the highest 
position and making no distinction between man and man 
so far as civic rights are concerned. If we achieve success in 
our movement to unite all the Hindus in a single caste we 
shall have rendered the greatest service to the Indian nation 
in general and to the Hindu community in particular. The 
present caste-system with its invidious distinction and unjust 
dispensations is one of the greatest sources of our communal 
and National weakness. Our movement stands for strength 
and solidarity; for equality, liberty and fraternity. We wish 
to carry on our movement as peaceful as we can. However, 
our determination to remain non-violent will to a large extent 
depend upon the attitude of our opponents. We are not the 
aggressors and our oppressors for generations should accuse 
us of aggression a strange thing. We refuse to be controlled 
and bound by the ‘Shastras’ and ‘Smrities’ composed in the 
dark ages and base our claims on justice and humanity.” 1 

Thereafter “Mr. G. N. Sahastrabuddhe, a Brahmin, read 
extracts from Manusmriti those portions which related to the 
treatement to be meted out to the Sudras. 

Burn Manusmriti 

The first resolution passed ran as follows : — 

Taking into consideration, the remarks in the Manusmriti 
and such other books which are most vulgar and which most 
flagrantly violate the human rights, this meeting condemns 
them emphatically and as an expression of that condemnation 
resolves to burn them and makes the following declaration of 
rights to form the basis of reconstruction of Hindu Society. 

The declaration stated that all Hindus should be considered 
as one of varna and should be recognised and called as such 
and law should be enacted prohibiting the use of class words 
as Brahmin, Kshatriya etc. 


1 : The Indian National Herald, dated 28th December 1927. 


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25 

24B Blank 

A place at Mahad where Manusmriti was brunt 



The bonfire of Manusmriti was quite intentional. We made 
a bonfire of it because we view it as a symbol of injustice 
under which we have been crushed across centuries. 


Dr. B. R. Ambedkar 


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24B Blank 


SJ+YS 11-10-2013/YS-19-11-2013 


26 


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MAHAD SATYAGRAHA 25 

Another resolution urged that a competitive examination 
be held for the admission of persons to the Hindu priesthood 
and that licenses be issued only to the successful candidates. 

The speeches were mainly denunciations of Brahmins and 
Brahminism. Mr. Mandlik asked permission to address the 
meeting but the President refused permission. 

Mr. D. V. Pradhan, a touchable also supported the burning 
of the Smriti. 

The ceremony of burning the Smriti * then took place and 
the conference concluded for the day.” * 1 

“ The bonfire of the Manusmriti by Dr. Ambedkar and 
his followers on 25th December 1927, anticipated this age. 
While speaking of bonfire of Manusmriti ; Dr. Ambedkar in 
an interview with T. V. Parvate in 1938, said “The bonfire 
of Manusmriti was quite intentional. We made a bonfire of it 
because we view it as a symbol of injustice under which we 
have been crushed across centuries. Because of its teaching, 
we have been ground down under despicable poverty and so 
we made the clash, staked all, took our lives in our hands 
and performed the deed.” 2 

“The Collector, the Superintendent of Police and 100 armed 
police were present. In the night harikirtan composed by an 
“Untouchable” and hitting at Brahmins was enthusiastically 
sung. 

Collector’s Letter 

Second day’s proceedings of the Conference began on the 
morning of the 26th. Dr. Ambedkar read a letter from the 
Collector which said that it was the desire of Government 
that the “Untouchables”should obey the injunction of the Civil 
Court. Government were always sympathetic to the cause of 
the Untouchables and were willing to advance their cause in 
every lawful way and help them to establish their right of 
access to places of public utility. But, in view of the temporary 
injunction granted, Government were helpless and desired 
that the Untouchables should not embark on Satyagraha at 
this moment. 

* Manusmriti. 

1 : The Indian National Herald, dated 31st December 1927. 

2 : Parvate, Pp. 58-59. 


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26 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

The whole Conference converted itself into Subjects 
Commitee when Dr. Ambedkar reviewed the whole situation 
and advised the delegates to embark on Satyagraha against the 
Civil Court’s injunction provided the delegates were prepared for 
the consequences of their action and to undergo imprisonment 
and other sufferings in a cheerful and voluntary manner. 

The sense of the Conference was strongly in favour of the 
advice to embark on Satyagraha immediately and the President 
had difficulty in getting a hearing for any speaker who was 
for postponement of Satyagraha. 

More Than 3,000 Volunteers Sign Pledge 

Dr. Ambedkar then suggested that to gauge correctly the 
intensity of feeling, those delegates who were in favour of 
Satyagraha should be asked to give their consent in writing 
for practicising Satyagraha. Accordingly, the registration of 
delegates willing to practice Satyagraha was commenced and 
within one hour, 3,884 delegates had registered their names 
as ready to offer Satyagraha. 

The Collector was informed that the Conference was in 
favour of Satyagraha on hearing which the Collector expressed 
a desire to address the Conference personally. 

Collector Addresses Conference 

The Satyagraha Conference assembled at 5-30 p.m. when 
Mr. Hood, the Collector, accompanied by the Superintendent 
of Police attended the Conference. The Collector addressed the 
meeting in Marathi. Mr. Hood said : “I know why you have 
all gathered in this Conference. I know also that if I advised 
you to defer Satyagraha you would all very much regret it as 
you have been preparing for this for the last three months. 
You all, however, know that the Bombay Legislative Council 
has passed a resolution to the effect that the “Depressed” 
Classes be admitted to the public tanks and schools and that 
the Bombay Government have instructed accordingly and have 
also advised the Local Board to do the same. The Government 
are quite willing, Mr. Hood said to admit them to the tank 
but 10 days ago there has taken place a new development. 
The touchables have filed a suit against the “Untouchables” 
contending that the tank was a private one and a temporary 
injunction has been granted in their favour. 


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MAHAD SATYAGRAHA 27 

“I am speaking to you as the Collector of the district and 
I wish to assure you on behalf of the Government that the 
Government are on the side of “Untouchables” and to tell you 
that the Government and I, are your friends. I regret very 
much to see that some of you intend to offer Satyagraha by 
disobeying the order of the court. This action, I consider, 
will be very harmful, I advise you to prepare your case and 
fight it constitutionally and legally. I sincerely hope that the 
decision may be in your favour.” 

Mr. Jawalkar who had come in the morning said he had 
come to the Conference to deliver the message of the Non- 
Brahmin party namely that the “Untouchables” should obey 
the injunction of the court and offer Satyagraha after the 
decision of the court. 

Subhedar Ghatge and other speakers said they had come 
there to offer Satyagraha against the touchable s and not 
against the Government.” 1 

“The Collector was then led by Dr. Ambedkar out of the 
pandal. Till seven in the evening, speaker after speaker 
supported the launching of Satyagraha, and those who uttered 
discordant notes were booed and heckled. Dr. Ambedkar again 
adjourned the discussion till the next morning. 

At night the chief men gathered together, held discussions 
and decided to postpone the struggle in view of the case 
pending before the court, but it was also decided to march in 
procession winding its course around the tank. Accordingly, 
this decision was notified to the District Magistrate. 

On the morning of December 27, Dr. Ambedkar rose to 
withdraw the first resolution on the struggle and to move 
another resolution amidst breathless silence, asking the 
Conference to postpone the struggle. He was on the horns 
of a dilemma. It was now the psychological moment to 
curb the enthusiasm of the delegates and pin it down. He 
tactfully began to deal with the critical situation. He said 
in an appealing tone to the delegates, who had by now 
grown restless and frantic : “You are a brave people. The 
people who are prepared to lay down their lives for the 
vindication of their just rights are sure to prosper. But the 


1 : The Indian National Herald, dated 31st December 1927. 


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28 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

moment now has come when you should think twice before 
you strike the blow. You know well that the Satyagraha 
movement started by Gandhi,” he proceeded, “ was backed 
up by the people as it was against a foreign domination. 
Our struggle is against the mass of Caste Hindus and 
naturally we have little support from outside. Taking these 
facts into consideration. I feel, we should not antagonise 
the Government and put it on the side of our opposition. 
It is not beneficial either.” 

“Do not suppose,” asserted the leader, “that if you 
postpone the issue humiliation will be its concomitant. As 
regards my position, I assure you I am prepared to face 
the three-fold danger-breaking of an order, being charged 
with a breach of rules governing the conduct of a lawyer 
and the possibility of imprisonment. My brothers,” he 
sofetly concluded, “you rest assured that a postponement 
of this struggle will not mean that we have given up the 
struggle. The fight will go on till we establish our claims 
to this Tank.” 1 


Satyagraha postponed 

As a result of deliberations, the following resolution was 
adopted : — 

‘Taking into consideration the fact that the touchable 
classes of Mahad by obtaining a temporary injunction from 
the Civil Court at the last hour against the “Depressed” 
Classes bring them into conflict with the Government 
which had yesterday morning resolved to offer Satyagraha 
have after listening to the Collector and after taking into 
consideration the assurance given by him in the open 
Conference that the Government have every sympathy 
for the Depressed Classes in the struggle for equal rights 
resolved that Satyagraha be postponed till the decision of 
the Civil Court.” 2 


1 : Keer, Pp. 102-103. 

2 : The Indian National Herald, dated 31st December 1927. 


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MAHAD SATYAGRAHA 29 

“The Conference agreed. The delegates immediatly 
formed themselves into a procession and started volunteers 
with slogans, boards and placards were pacing slowly. The 
procession reached the Tank and took its round. And what 
were the Caste Hindus doing ? The streets were deserted. 
They had shut their houses and the Orthodox Hindus were 
wriggling with excruciating venom in their hearts. After one 
hour and a half, the procession returned to the pandal about 
noon without any mishap.” 1 

“Dr. AMBEDKAR AT RAIGARH 
“Untouchables” Bathe in Ganga Sagar Tank 

A correspondent writing under date January 5 in 
“Kolaba-Samachar of Pen, says” After the conclusion of the 
Satyagraha Conference Dr. Ambedkar proceeded to Raigarh, 
the famous fortress and the capital of Shivaji, in company 
of about a hundred Untouchables. He encamped in the 
Raigarh Dharmashala and the watchmen of that place, one 
Yesu Shedge, a Mahratta by caste and maintained by the 
Dharmashala Committee, looked after the requirements of 
the visitors. He asked them not to touch the waters of the 
Gangasagar Tank. He suggested that if they wanted to take 
bath, they could do so in another tank nearby, specially built 
for the Untouchables. Dr. Ambedkar and others, however, 
“defiled” the waters of the “ Gangasagar.” 

The correspondent adds that this has led to great excitement 
among the Mahrattas of the Raigarh valley, most of whom are 
sepoys in the army, the valley being a good recruiting field.” 2 

Comments 

“Commenting editorially on this episode, “ Kolaba-Samachar ” 
in its issue for January 7 refers to the methods followed by 
Dr. Ambedkar pointing to a suggestion made in its columns that 
Government should see its way to prosecute Dr. Ambedkar and 
his followers. The paper sets its face against the suggestions 
on the ground that Indians must do as much as possible to 
settle their own quarrels and should never invite Government 
of their own accord, to interferes.” 3 

1 : Keer P. 104. 

2 : The Bombay Chronicle dated 12th January 1928. 

3 : Kolaba-Samachar, dated 7th January 1928. 


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30 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

“Maharashtra’s Mind 

For some weeks past Dr. Ambedkar and the Satyagraha 
Conference of Untouchables at Mahad have been the subject 
of much adverse comment not only in the Orthodox Hindu 
Press but also in journals that are definitely committed to 
the removal of Untouchability. Most of the Marathi journals 
came under the second variety and may generally speaking 
be divided into three classes, viz, N. C. O., Responsivist 
and Non-Brahman. The principal points that these journals 
make in their attacks against Dr. Ambedkar and his friends 
are (1) his alleged excess of burning the Manusmriti, and 
(2) his alleged acquiescence in the Kolaba Collector’s order 
to stop Satyagraha. In the whole controversy there are many 
other charges and countercharges made against either party, 
but they are not very material. Dr. Ambedkar has now 
published in “Bahishkr it -Bharat” quite a lengthy account of 
the Conference and met the charges made against him. He 
does not fight shy of the first accusation against him and 
defends it by saying that in as much Manusmriti ordains 
and sanctifies the age-long oppression and exploitation of the 
Untouchable Hindus by the socalled High-Class Hindus, this 
main source of present day Hindu law deserves to be burnt. 
While meeting the second charge, Dr. Ambedkar takes the 
wind out of the sails of his opponents when he states that no 
gagging order was ever passed against and therefore there 
never arose any question of disobeying it. All that he did, he 
was pursuaded to postpone the Satyagraha to a later day by 
the Collector of Kolaba and he did entirely in the interests 
of the Satyagrahis and the Untouchables. He leaves perfect 
liberty to his critics to say anything against him on this 
distinct ground.” 1 

“ The case, Hindu versus Untouchables regarding 
ownership of Chawdar Tank was fixed for hearing on 
12th January 1928 in the Court of Second Class Sub- 
Judge; Mahad. Dr. B. R. Ambedkar started preparation 
for pleading the case. He wrote a letter on 24th 
January 1928 to Advocate Markand Dattatraya Vaidya to 


1 : The Bombay Chronicle, dated 27th February 1928. 


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MAHAD SATYAGRAHA 


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obtain certain documents and also to attend the Court. He 
specifically asked Mr. Vaidya to obtain a copy of an affidavit 
filed by a Brahmin priest namely Mr. Pandurang Bhaskar 
Shashtri Palaye on 30th January 1928 in favour of Dr. B. R. 
Ambedkar and other quoting the various quotations from 
the scriptures. The letter is as under : 


Member, Legislative Council. 

Bombay. 

My dear Vaidya, 

I am (in) receipt of your letter of the 12th. I notice that 
the Court is anxious to have the injunction order argued 
earlier i.e., before the 5th Feb. Well, I propose to come on 
Thursday the 2nd of Feb. to argue the matter. 

I am sending herewith forms of affidavits which you 
will please prepare in due form and have them declared in 
time. You may find some difficulty in getting a Mahomedan 
butcher (I must have a butcher) to make the affidavit. But if 
you will see the police Sub-Inspector of Mahad and request 
him on my behalf, I am sure he will oblige you a copy of 
an affidavit by a Brahmin priest supporting us which will 
be declared here. 

Give sufficient notice to the Defts, in time of the date 
and also give them copies of affidavits, so that they would 
have no cause for complaint. Give my regards to Surba. 
Let me have your reply by Monday the 30th of January 
at the latest, informing me if everything is ready for the 
2nd of Feb. 

With my very best regards I am, 


BHIMRAO R. AMBEDKAR 
M. A., Ph. D., D. Sc, 
Bar-at-law 


Damodar Hall, Parel 
Bombay, 12 
24-1-28 


Yours sincereley 
Sd/-B. R. Ambedkar” 1 


1 : Khairmode, Vol. 3, Pp. 239, 244, 245. 


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32 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Following is the article by P. R. Lele about Mahad 
Satyagraha — 

“Untouchables will renew Satyagraha 

The Untouchable’s Satyagraha of the famous Chawdar 
Tank of Mahad had to suspend their Saryagraha in view of 
a temporary injunction granted by the Sub-Judge of Mahad 
restraining Dr. B. R. Ambedkar and others from taking water 
out of that tank. At that time i.e. December last they had to 
rest satisfied with holding a Conference and giving emphatic 
expression in several ways to their resentment against the 
tyranny of Caste-Hindus. 

The delegates and visitors of that Conference organised a 
huge procession and impressed their strength on the minds 
of the tyrants. Thereafter Dr. Ambedkar with a select party 
went round the Mahad Taluka and even to the Raigarh Fort. 
About his visit to Raigarh, I refrain from saying anything 
inasmuch as Dr. Ambedkar is contemplating or probably has 
started legal proceedings against certain papers which are 
alleged to have given misleading reports. 

The tour of this party created a sensation in Mahad 
Taluka, as a repercussion of which even Mussalmans of a 
certain villages in the vicinity certain papers who are alleged 
to have given misleading reports. 

Interim Injunction Dissolved 

Now the Sub-Judge of Mahad has dissolved the interim 
injunction. I have not got a copy of the judgement on the 
interlocutory notice but have definite information that it is 
a considered and pretty long one. 

The Judge has hinted that he was misled when he granted 
the interim injunction and has virtually expressed sorrow 
for having been instrumental to what may be called the 
continuation of an insult and a sore. More than this must not 
at this stage be said as the main case is still subjudice. For 
the time, however, this is a distinct victory of a just cause. 
The assertion of civil rights by the so-called Untouchables can 
now be made without involving the risk of being jammed in 
between the judiciary on the one side and the orthodoxy on 
the other. 


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MAH AD SATYAGRAHA 33 

In the great Guruka Bagh struggle there was at least the 
wholehearted and unanimous sympathy of the public with 
the Sikh Satyagrahis. In the Mahad affair it was not so. 
The leaders of the Orthodox Hindus refused to listen to the 
words of advice of the bosses of Poona or even of the Hindu 
Sabhawalas. Those same leaders though discomfited and 
repulsed, would not take up a strong attitude in favour of the 
Mahar Satyagrahis when it came to the actual assertion of 
rights. What had to be postponed can now be taken up again. 

The Next Campaign 

And it is going to be taken up again, this time with far 
less risk and far greater chances of success. After the return 
of Dr. Ambedkar, who had been to Mahad for the case, after 
delivering his well-informed budget criticism, a public meeting 
was held in the Damodar Thakarsey Hall, Parel, on Sunday 
26 th instant. 

Dr. Ambedkar in a lucid speech explained the situation 
as it existed on that day and told his followers to consider 
the earliest date on which to launch the campaign again. The 
meeting was attended by more than a thousand members of 
the Depressed Classes. The hall was packed and on the dais 
were a few Caste-Hindu Friends of the so-called Untouchables 
besides a majority of prominent members of the latter classes. 

The majority of speeches were by these and were full of 
sincerity and devotion to their leader Dr. Ambedkar. One 
of the speakers spoke with the greatest impression because 
he was amongst those who were assaulted by Caste-Hindus 
sometime in March last when the first attempt was made to 
take water from the now famous tank. 

At that time it was recklessly circulated that hides 
were washed in the tank and this assaulted gentleman 
being a cobbler by caste the story was taken up and a 
wanton assault was perpetrated on him. As another speaker 
explained water was actually drawn by him and the assault 
went vicariously to that other gentleman, whose name 
is Rajbhoj and who was humourously called Bhoj Raja. 
One could clearly see life in the meeting of Sunday last. 


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34 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Within A Month 

To see them and to say they were Untouchables would be 
absurd. All the same in the eyes of the orthodox they were 
so. They have not only to cure themselves of Untouchability 
but have to uplift the orthodox who are immersed in the 
slough of prejudice. Their struggle is an essentially patriotic 
and essentially human struggle. 

With such a huge dead weight the nation cannot rise. So 
long as equal elementary rights are not conceded and assured 
to them, Hinduism shall stand shackled and manacled. In 
asserting their rights and in raising themselves, these warriors 
of the so-called Untouchable classes are raising the country 
and the Hindu religion. Dr. Ambedkar is now busy organising 
the next campaign in right earnest. It has been decided to 
start it within a month probably on the Hindu New Year’s 
Day when every Hindu house-holder flies a flag. The leaders 
of these Depressed Classes propose to fly their flag of “equal 
human rights to all” on that day and, God willing, they will 
do it.” 1 

This is an article by D. V. Pradhan about Mahad 
Satyagraha — 

“TRIUMPH OF JUSTICE 

When in March last, Dr. Ambedkar led the Untouchables 
to the Chawdar Tank at Mahad, the orthodox section of 
the Caste Hindus lost their sleep, appetite and all over the 
“Sacrilege” and mercilessly belaboured the poor unsupported 
Untouchables while they were returning from the tank. 
Soon after, criminal proceedings were taken against the 
rowdies and they were punished for disturbing the public 
peace. Every effort was made by these so-called “Protectors” 
of the religion to oppose the Untouchables from coming 
near the tank and they were encouraged in their action by 
the orthodox press. It was to assert their right of ordinary 
human privileges, the Untouchables launched the Satyagraha 
Movement, and in December last, a conference of about 10,000 
assembled and unanimously resolved to march on to the 
tank. But the Orthodox Caste Hindus who smelt this resolve 


1 : The Indian National Herald, dated 28th February 1928. 


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MAH AD SATYAGRAHA 35 

by their nose got a temporary injunction from the sub-judge 
of Mahad against the Untouchables using the tank of the 
ground that it was the private property of one Mr. Chowdhari 
and the touchable classes. Having secured this respite from 
the authorities, the touchables thought that they had gained 
the upper hand at the expense of the Government and the 
Untouchables. Dr. Ambedkar at once saw through the game, 
but decided to postpone Satyagraha till the civil suit was 
disposed of. The suit came for hearing on 23rd February 1928 
before Mr. Vaidya, the sub- Judge of Mahad, and Dr. Ambedkar 
by his lucid exposition not only got the injunction cancelled 
but also convinced the judge the bona-fide of their right to 
use the public tank. Since the ban has been removed, the 
tank is now to be open for public use as per the resolution 
of the Bombay Legislative Council. 

Satyagraha to be Launched 

Now, in a public meeting held on Sunday the 26th February, 
in Bombay, attended by about 2,000 people, it was resolved 
to relaunch the Satyagraha at Mahad. The Satyagraha 
Committee is meeting shortly, and the exact date will be 
announced shortly. 

Those who are following and studying the Untouchable 
Movement in this part of the country under the leadership 
of Dr. Ambedkar can very safely and boldly say that the 
movement is cosmopolitan in character. It is not simply for 
the opening of the tank for public use, but a movement of this 
kind with its manifold activities is directly paving the way 
for the evolution of the national movement for asserting their 
ordinary privileges of citizenship. It was only recently that 
Dr. Ambedkar announced his intention to open khadi centres 
for the Untouchables and thus help the great constructive 
programme blessed by Mahatmaji, with Khaddar on body 
and Satyagraha in mind against all evils, this movement is 
bound to succeed. 

One word to my friends. As every good movement has 
to pass through various stages of obstacles and it will 
have to meet the friendly foes as well open foes-of whom 
the former are more dangerous- so also this Satyagraha 
has to face all the obstacles put on the way and come 
out triumphant at last. I only appeal to my friends that 
in facing these hardships from friends or foes, they 


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36 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

should not lose under any circumstances their courage, patience 
and persevarance but carry on the struggle to the successful 
end in all humility by peaceful and non-violent means. 

May God give the strength to my suffering brethren and 
wisdom to the cast Hindus.” 1 

Sub-Judge, Mahad, dissolved Mahad injunction — 

Chawdar Tank-No Private Property 
Magistrate Regrets Grant of Injunction 

“I cannot conclude this order without expressing my regret 
at the inconvenience and hardship caused to the defendants 
by the injunction granted by me, temporary though it was, 
and at having been instrumental in heaping one more wrong 
upon a community already labouring under the most cruel 
and unjust social wrongs. I dissolve the injunction issued by 
me”. So said the Sub-Judge while dissolving the injunction 
against Dr. Ambedkar and others. 

It will be remembered that Dr. Ambedkar and others who 
went to offer Satyagraha at Mahad in the matter of taking 
water from the famous Chawdar tank were prevented from 
doing so by the injunction granted by Mr. G. V. Vaidya, Sub- 
Judge, Mahad, as applied for by Mr. Pandurang Raghunath 
Dharap and others, who claimed that the tank concerned was 
their private property. It is understood that Dr. Ambedkar 
and others, as also a number of caste Hindu people have 
decided to offer Satyagraha again. Probably they may restart 
the campaign on the first day of the Hindu New Year, i.e. 
about three weeks after, as the injunction against them 
has now been dissolved on the ground that the said tank is 
“Government municipal property.” 

Why Injunction was granted 

Delivering judgment of February 23rd the Sub-Judge 
observes. “The injunction had been granted on the prima 
facie presumption that the Chawdar Tank in suit was of 
the nature of private property. I have now to see whether 
on the evidence that is now produced for Defendants, that 
presumption stands or not. That presumption has, in my 
opinion, been strongly rebutted by the evidence now placed 
by the Defendants before me.” 


1 : The Bombay Chronicle, dated 2nd March 1928. 


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MAH AD SATYAGRAHA 37 

While examining the evidence, the sub-judge relies 
on copies of extracts from Revenue Records and certain 
other documents like applications from several people 
to the Municipality for special use of the water of the 
tank and definitely expresses the view. “All these papers 
strongly go to prove that the Chawdar Tank in suit is 
Government Property vesting in the Municipality and not 
private property of particular individuals as alleged by 
the Plaintiffs.” 

Conclusive Evidence 

Continuing the judge says : “The presumption that the 
tank in suit is Municipal property is further strengthened 
by the fact that in the embankment of the tank, there 
are slabs of stones in two places bearing inscriptions 
engraved on them. On the application of Defendant’s 
pleader, a Commissioner was appointed to visit the place 
and in the presence of the Court and the pleaders for both 
sides, to make facsimile of these inscriptions. This was 
done in the presence of the Court and Messrs Joshi and 
Sathe for Plaintiffs and Mr. Vaidya for the Defendants. 
Slab marked serial No. 2 bears a clear inscription of the 
words Municipality Mahad 1899 engraved in Marathi. On 
slab No. 1 some words are clearly visible while the others 
appeared to have been tampered with by some one and 
this tampering appeared to be quite fresh. 

Plaintiffs Slender Case 

As against all this evidence, plaintiffs rely upon the 
deed of partition (Ex. 45) of the Dharap family. In the face 
of all the evidence above referred to the mere fact that 
years ago, some members of the Dharap family effected, 
as between themselves a partition of the embankment in 
front of their house, does not signify much nor does the 
notice Ex. 44 given by the Municipality to one Diwakar 
Joshi to repair the embankments built by him in front 
of his house, as they were in a dilapidated condition and 
were rendering the water of the tank insanitary, signify 
much. It in no way constitutes an admission of Plaintiffs’ 
right to the tank itself. 


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38 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

“No Special Preserve” 

Whatever may be the final decision of the suit on its 
merits, I am, for the present, thoroughly satisfied, that the 
Chawdar Tank in suit is Government Municipal property 
and not the private property of particular individuals as 
alleged by Plaintiffs. The question then is whether plaintiffs 
have a right to exclude Defendants from enjoyment thereof. 
The answer is obviously “No”. In the case of such property 
there cannot be any reservation in favour of a particular 
class of community, and the Defendants have as much a 
right to its enjoyment as the Plaintiffs have. No question of 
irreparable injury therefore arises. In this case the property 
being Municipal property and the Defendant having as much 
a right to use it as the Plaintiffs, their exercise of that right 
cannot be said to cause any injury to Plaintiffs. 

Lame Arguments of Plaintiffs’ Counsel 

It is argued for the Plaintiffs by their learned pleader 
Mr. Virkar that on their own admission, the Defendants 
have not up to now enjoyed the use of the tank in suit. 
But, when once it is shown that the property is not private 
but public and open to all members of the public, the mere 
non-user of the tank by the Defendants during howsoever 
long a term of years cannot in any way derogate from their 
title. I am satisfied from the evidence produced before me 
that the tank in suit is not the private property of the 
Plaintiffs, but that it is Government Municipal property, 
and the Defendants have as much a right to its enjoyment 
as the Plaintiffs have and that any interference with the 
exercise of such right would be wholly illegal. 

I cannot conclude this order without expressing my regret 
at the inconvenience and hardship caused to the Defendants 
by the injunction granted by me, temporary though it was, 
and at having been instrumental in heaping one more wrong 
upon a community already labouring under the most cruel 
and unjust social wrongs. I dissolve the injunction issued 
by me.” 1 


1 : The Bombay Chronicle, dated 3rd March 1928. 


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MAHAD SATYAGRAHA 39 

Following is the Police Report of the meeting held at 
Bombay after dissolution of injunction — 

“Untouchables and Satyagrah at Mahad 

A public meeting of the Depressed Classes was held at 
Damodar Thakersey Hall on February 26th when G. N. 
Sahasrabudhe presided over an audience about 500 people. 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, who was the principal speaker, said 
that as the Sub-Judge of the Mahad Court had dissolved the 
interim injunction against him and the Satyagraha Party, 
he would leave the question of resuming Satyagraha to the 
discretion of the Satyagraha Committee of Bombay. 

Views expressed by “Indian National Herald” after 
cancellation of injunction — 

“COMMON HUMAN RIGHTS 

The Sub-Judge of Mahad having dissolved the temporary 
injunction issued by him against Dr. Ambedkar and other 
leaders of the Depressed Classes, the latter, it is understood, 
propose to assert their civic right to draw water from the public 
tank at Mahad. When in March last members of the Depressed 
Classes, who had previously met in a conference at the place, 
attempted to approach the tank they were roughly handled 
by the “higher” Caste Hindus, a few Chamars sustaining 
severe injuries. The leaders of these “higher” Caste Hindus 
then sought an injunction under section 144 Cr. P. C. from 
the District Collector, on the ground that the attempt of the 
“Untouchables” to take water from the tank, in contravention 
of the existing customary ban on them would spell danger to 
public peace. 

The Collector, refused to take any action. They then 
applied to the Sub-Judge and succeeded in obtaining 
from him a temporary injunction against the leaders of 
the “Untouchables” and consequently the contemplated 
Satyagraha and march to the tank in a body with a view 
to draw water from it in defiance of the “Higher” Castes, 
had to be abandoned. Now, however the Sub-Judge has 
dissolved the injunction, declaring himself satisfied from the 
evidence that “any interference with the exercise of such 


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40 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

right would be wholly illegal.” That the so-called Higher 
Castes have absolutely no legal right to prevent any 
member of the public, from drawing water from a tank 
which is not private property and which they themselves 
must be fully aware is a Municipal Tank, would be 
admitted by any man; who is not blinded by caste 
prejudices. If the local Municipal authorities had any 
doubts in the matter the same has been set at rest by 
the resolution of the Bombay Legislative Council passed 
in September 1926, declaring that all Municipal Tanks, 
wells and Dharmashalas should be thrown open to all 
classes of public without any distinction. It is inconceivable 
that any section of the community, because of their own 
notions of personal “superiority” in point of caste, should 
be entitled to prevent any other section from benefiting 
from the amenities provided from public funds. Such a 
notion deserves to be knocked on the head, not only in 
the interests of the oppressed and suppressed classes, 
but also, and much more, in the interests of the so-called 
superior classes themselves. Such treatment of fellow 
beings besides being wholly inquitous and unjustifiable 
is bound to have very undesirable consequences for the 
“Higher” Castes, for sooner or later the oppressed classes 
must come by the rights, human, civic and political, so 
long unjustly denied to them and then their exacerbated 
feelings might lead them to turn the tables on their 
former oppressors. 

The alienation of the sympathy of a section of the 
Depressed Classes towards the national movement ought 
also to be a sufficient warning against the perpetuation of 
the present deplorable conditions. Let us hope that when in 
a few days Dr. Ambedkar and his fellow castemen proceed 
to Mahad to assert their right to draw water from the 
public tank there, not only will there be no opposition, 
but a cordial welcome will await them from the “Caste” 
Hindus. Such a consummation would go a long way to 
heal the wounds cruelly infllicted on their fellowmen.” 1 


1 : The Indian National Herald, dated 6th March 1928. 


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MAHAD SATYAGRAHA 41 

Mahad Satyagraha changed the social attitudes of some 
Caste Hindus. Following is one of the examples — 

“Do away with Castes 
All Caste Dinner in Bombay 

An all caste dinner was held under the auspices of the 
Samaj-Samata-Sangh (Social-Equality-League) on the 5th 
instant in the Damodar Thakersey Hall, Parel. 

About 150 persons of different castes including 50 so-called 
Untouchables attended the dinner. Mr. D. V. Naik, Editor of 
the Brahman-Brahmanetar, and vice-president of the League, 
welcomed the guests saying that such dinners were organised 
by the League to be away with caste barriers that separated 
and disintegrated the Indian nation in general and Hindu 
society in particular. It was only through free intercourse 
and inter dining, he added, that the evils of the caste system 
would be destroyed, and that a new society based on equal 
status would be developed. They had all gathered there, 
he proceeded, not on account of inevitable necessity ( Apad - 
Dharma ), but with a definite purpose and full knowledge and 
determination to break the intolerable shackles of the rigid 
system which disapproved and prohibited such sanctions of 
love and brotherhood. 

The League under the able guidance of its learned President 
Dr. Ambedkar, he assured, the guests, would always welcome 
and help those who would, with unique courage in both hands, 
come forward to free themselves and the nation from the 
present inhuman caste-ridden society. 

Mr. A. B. Kolhatkar, the Editor of the Sandesh eulogised 
the work of the League, pointing out the significance of such 
functions. He said the Hindu society was like a clock of sand 
where the Brahmins till then had the upper hand but now the 
time had come when they should ungrudgingly make room for 
the other castes and especially for the so-called Untouchables. 
He further believed that if the present abuses of all sorts- 
political, social and religious were to be eradicated, that could 
only be done through the instrumentality of a new Shivaji, 
to be born among the so-called Untouchables. 


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42 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Mr. V. B. Karnik, the Secretary of the Bombay 
Maharashtra Youth Mandal drew attention to a resolution 
passed by it, aiming at the abolition of the inquitous 
system of castes and the differences made on grounds of 
religion and sect by organising inter-caste dinners and 
encouraging inter-caste marriages and promised that 
the Mandal would always give its whole-hearted support 
to the League, which was already in the field in such 
national work. 

Mr. M. R. Menon, said that he had come there to wish 
Godspeed to Dr. Ambedkar in the righteous work he had 
undertaken of procuring for the the so-called Untouchables 
the most elementary human right of drinking water from 
a public tank at Mahad.” 1 

“In spite of Government Resolution, Untouchables 
were not allowed to draw water in 1932, the Bombay 
Government instituted a Committee consisting of 
Symington, I. C. S., and Zakeria Maniyar, to inquire 
into the condition of the Depressed Classes in the Nasik 
District. One of the chapters of the report revealed that 
in that District there were as many as eleven hundred 
District Local Board wells from which the Untouchables 
were not allowed to draw water in spite of the Government 
Resolution of 1923.” 2 

In the mean time a legal struggle in between Caste 
Hindus and Depressed Classes was going on in various 
Courts. Following is the abstract of these incidents. 

“Appeal Heard in Thana District Court 

Thana, March 20. 

Mr. B. N. Sanjana, District Judge, Thana, heard to-day 
an appeal filed by Pandurang Waman dharap and others of 
Mahad against the judgement of Mr. Vaidya, Subordinate 
Judge, Mahad, dissolving an interim injunction granted 
by him previously against the Mahad Untouchables for 
bidding them from using the Chawdar Tank. 

1 : The Indian National Herald, dated 15th March 1928. 

2 : Keer, P. 197. 


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MAH AD SATYAGRAHA 43 

The District Judge passed orders granting a interim 
injunction restraining the respondents, from using the 
declaratory suit filed by the touchables in the Mahad 
Civil Court.” 1 

“Kolaba, March 3. — The Bombay Chronicle of March 2, 
published the following : — “A meeting was held on Sunday, 
February 26, in Bombay, attended by about 2,000 people. 
It was resolved to re-launch the Satyagraha at Mahad. 
The Satyagraha Committee is meeting shortly and the 
exact date will be announced shortly.” 2 

“Satyagraha at Mahad : Re-starting of 

Vide para 309. Kolaba, March 17. — There has been 
several reports lately that the Mahad Satyagraha is to 
be re-launched on March 22; but this has been personally 
denied by Dr. Ambedkar who has promised to give a 
fortnight notice before re-launching it.” 3 

“488. Vide para 52, Kolaba, March 24. — In the appeal 
against the order of the Sub-Judge, Mahad, regarding the 
Chawdar Tank, the District Court, Thana, has passed an 
order prohibiting an Untouchables from entering the Tank, 
pending the final decision of the suit regarding the Tank.” 4 

The Sub-Judge of Mahad Hon. V. R. Saraf gave 
judgement in favour of the respondents Dr. B. R. Ambedkar 
and others on 8th June 1931, since the appellants caste 
Hindus could not prove their ownership of the tank. Thus 
Chawdar Tank was declared as public and open to the 
Untouchables also. 

The Caste Hindu Appellants preferred an appeal against 
the Judgement in the District Court of Thana. The Second 
Assistant Judge Hon. S. M. Kokani decided the case in 
favour of the Respondents Dr. B. R. Ambedkar and others 
on 30th January 1933. 

1 : The Indian National Herald, dated 22nd March 1928. 

2 : Bombay Secret Abstract dated 17th March 1928, para, 309. 

3 : Bombay Secret Abstract dated 31st March 1928, para, 428. 

4 : Bombay Secret Abstract dated 7th April 1928. 


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44 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Thereafter the Caste Hindu Appellants again preferred 
an appeal in the Hight Court, Bombay. This case lingered 
for four years. Lastly Justic Broomfield and Justice Wadia 
rejected Caste Hindus’ appeal on 17th March 1937 since they 
could not prove their ownership of land of Chawdar Tank. 

The Judgement of the High Court, Bombay reads as under : 

“APPEAL No. 462 OF 1933 FROM APPELLATE 

DECREE 

Narhari Damdoar Vaidya; and the others 

(Original Plaintiffs Nos. 2 to 6) Appellants. 

versus 

Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, Member of Joint 
Parliamentary Committee, London; and others. 

(Original Defendants) 

Respondents. 

Second Appeal against the decision of S. M. Kaikini, 
Esquire, Second Assistant Judge at Thana in Appeal No. 32 
of 1931. 

Mr. V. B. Virkar for the Appellants, 

Counsel Mr. S. V. Gupte, with Mr. B. G. Modak for 
Respondent No. 1. 

17th March 1937 

Coram : — Broomfield N. J. and Wadia J. J. 

Oral Judgement Per Broomfield N. J.: — 

The appellants, on behalf of the caste Hindus of the 
town of Mahad, sued the respondents, who represented the 
so-called ‘Untouchables’ for a declaration that the Chawdar 
Tank near the town belongs to them and that they alone 
have a right to use It and the respondents are not entitled 
to use it, and for an injunction against the respondents not 
to use it. The claim to ownership is not now persisted in 
and it is conceded that, as found by the trial court, the tank 
belonged to Government under the provisions of Section 
37 of the Land Revenue Code and has now vested in the 
Municipality of Mahad under Section 50 of the District 


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MAH AD SATYAGRAHA 45 

Municipalities Act. It is also conceded now that the caste 
Hindus are not entitled to exclusive user of the tank as 
against all the world, since Mohamedans may and do use it. 
It is contended nevertheless that the appellants have the right 
to use it themselves and to exclude the ‘Untouchables’ from 
it, and this right is said to be based on immemorial custom. 

The Trial Judge found that the plaintiffs have proved a 
longstanding custom (he does not describe it as immemorial) 
of using the tank water to the exclusion of the ‘Untouchables.’ 
He held however that the custom conferred no legal right upon 
the plaintiffs because ‘mere user of a public tank by one class 
and non-user by another would not clothe the class making 
the user with any legal rights or rights of ownership.’ On 
appeal, the Assistant Judge confirmed the finding that the 
caste Hindus have not proved that they have any legal right 
to exclude the ‘Untouchables.’ He has relied to some extent 
on a judgement of Sir Sadashiv Ayar V. Vaithilinga, a case 
not reported apparently in the authorised reports but to be 
found in 1913 Mad. W. N. 247 and 18 Indian cases 979; but 
his main reason seems to be that he held that the custom is 
not shown to be immemorial. 

The Chawdar Tank is a small lake or large pool; between 
four and five acres in extent, on the outskirts of the town. It is 
surrounded on all sides by municipal roads beyond which are 
houses occupied by caste Hindus (and a very few Mohamedans), 
and the owners of these houses also own in many cases strips 
of land on the edge of the tank, ghats or flights of steps 
to get to the water and the masonry embankments along 
the sides. There are no houses of ‘Untouchables’ anywhere 
near. It is not known how old the tank is, except that it is 
admittedly not less than 250 years old. There is no evidence 
as to its origin. It is not even clear that it is artificial. The 
Trial Judge took the view that it was ‘a natural excavation 
in the bed of the earth, of course repaired and remodelled 
by human agency.’ If this is so — and the point was not 
disputed in the argument before us — it is probably many 
centuries old. The water supply comes from the monsoon and 
a few natural springs. The population of the town Mahad is 
between seven and eight thousand, of whom less than 400 are 
‘Untouchables.’ The Municipality was established in 1865, but 


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46 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

there is no evidence available, at any date on the record of 
this case, as to the early history of the town or as to the time 
when the side was first inhabited. 

The Plaintiffs have examined a number of witnesses, 
many of them old inhabitants, whose evidence may be said 
to have established that within the period of living memory 
the tanks has been used exclusively by the Caste Hindus 
(and a few Mohamedans) and has never been used by the 
‘Untouchables’. It is in fact admitted that the latter never 
used it, before the year 1927, when a campaign against the 
doctrines of ‘Untouchability’ was carried out by defendant 
No. 1, and some of the ‘Untouchables’ went and drank water 
as a protest. They were assaulted and beaten by the caste 
Hindus and there were criminal prosecutions which led to 
the present suit. As there is no record of any attempt having 
been made by the ‘Untouchables’ to use the tank before that, 
there is no evidence of any positive acts of exclusion. What 
is provided is user by one party and absence of user by the 
other. This was due, no doubt to any accidental causes but, 
to the mutual acceptance of the doctrine of ‘Untouchability’ 
which until recent years was not openly challenged. 

The learned Assistant Judge comments on the fact that 
there is no evidence of the exclusion of the ‘Untouchables’ 
in pre-British times, nothing to show that the exclusion of 
exclusive user was in force in the days of the Maratha rule 
or the Musalman rule. It is of course not always necessary 
to produce evidence going back beyond the memory of living 
persons. On proof of enjoyment for a period, even less than 
that, the Courts have frequently felt justified in holding, in the 
absence of evidence, to the contrary that a custom has existed 
from time immemorial. Nor, of course, is it necessary in case of 
this kind to have evidence of positive acts of exclusion of one 
party by the other. There could be no such evidence as long 
as the enjoyment of the caste Hindus was not challenged, and 
it would not be likely to be challenged as long as the doctrine 
of ‘Untouchability’ prevailed and was accepted. But a custom 
proved to have existed during the period of living memory can 
only be presumed to have existed from before the period of 
legal memory in case where conditions may be assumed to have 
been permanent and stable so that it is reasonable to infer 


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MAH AD SATYAGRAHA 47 

that what has happened during the period covered by the 
evidence has also happened from time immemorial. This is 
where the plaintiffs’ case in our opinion breaks down. As 
long as conditions were at all similar, as long as the houses 
of the Caste Hindus have surrounded the tank, (which is not 
necessarily very long as the tank is on the outskirts of the town 
and the land around it would not likely be occupied until after 
considerable expansion of the original settlement) it may be 
safely presumed that the practice was the same as at present. 
It would not be safe to presume, however, that conditions have 
been similar for a period long enough to establish the alleged 
custom. The Konkan has had a chequered history, even in 
comparatively modern times, and to suppose that the Caste 
Hindus have been in a position to exercise exclusive control 
over this large natural reservoir situated as it is, from time 
immemorial, would be contrary to reasonable probability. 

In this connection some of the observation of Sir Sadashiv 
Ayar in Mariappa V. Vaithilinga are very instructive. He cites 
a saying of Manu; ‘Waters are pure as long as a cow goes to 
quench her thirst in and they have a good scent, colour and 
taste,’ and he points out that the Shastric writings ‘Make a 
distinction between rivers, tanks and other receptacle which 
are more easily contaminated and where purification by time, 
atmospheric conditions and movement of the water is much 
more difficult.’ The learned Judge suggests that the dictates of 
the Hindu religion would not require any elaborate precautions 
against the pollution of water in a large open tank, and he was 
dealing with a tank in a village site considarably smaller than 
the Chawdar Tank at Mahad. The doctrine of ‘Untouchability’ 
therefore does not appear to go far enough to lend very much 
support to the appellants’ case and it is doubtful whether any 
attempt would be made to secure exclusive user of the water 
until such time as the tank came to be surrounded by the 
houses of the caste Hindus. 

This is the only case to which our attention has been drawn 
dealing with a claim to exclude ‘Untouchables’ from the use of 
a watering-place of this description. The temple-entry cases, 
e. g. Anandrav N. Shankar, (1883) I. L. R., 7 Bom. 323, and 
Sankaralinga V. Rajeswara, (1908) I. L. R„ 31 Mad. 236, P. C, 


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48 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 


are not really on all fours. In such case long practice acquiesced 
in by the other castes and communities may naturally give 
rise to a presumption of dedication to the exclusive use of the 
higher castes, and may throw upon the ‘Untouchables’ the 
burden of proving that they are among the people for whose 
worship a particular temple exists. No such presumption of 
a lawful origin of the custom can be said to arise here. 


We therefore agree with the learned Assistant Judge that 
the appellants have not established the immemorial custom 
which they allege. Had they succeeded on this point it might 
have been necessary to consider whether the custom were 
unreasonable or contrary to public policy (though strictly 
speaking, it was not pleaded in the lower courts). It would 
certainly have been necessary to consider the legal effect of 
the vesting of the Chawdar Tank in the Municipality, and the 
question whether in any case the appellants could be granted 
any relief in this suit in which the legal owner is not a party. 
But as it is not necessary to decide these questions in the 
view we take of the case, and as they have not been very 
fully or effectively argued, we prefer to express no opinion. 


Appeal dismissed with costs. 
The seal of the 
High Court at 
Bombay. 

High Court Appellate 
Side certified copy 
Bombay. 


By order of the Court 
Sd/- R. S. Bavdekar, 
Registrar 

Sd/- 

For Deputy Registrar” 
the 28th day of June I960. 1 


The words of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar that “Lost rights are 
never regained by begging, and by appeals to the conscience 
of the usurpers, but by relentless struggle” have been proved 
by Mahad Satyagraha. — Editors. 

• • 


1 : Khairmode, Vol. 3, Pp. 258-263. 


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49 


SECTION II 

DR. AMBEDKAR— MAHATMA GANDHI 
MEETINGS 


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1 

I HAVE NO HOMELAND 

In the third week of July 1931, the names of the delegates 
to the second session of the Round Table Conference were 
announced. Dr. B. R. Ambedkar and Mahatma Gandhi were 
invited to attend the Conference in London. It was not 
decided as yet whether Mahatma Gandhi would attend the 
Round Table Conference. Naturally all eyes were focussed on 
Manibhuvan at Bombay where Mahatma Gandhi was staying. 
Gandhiji wanted to sound Dr. Ambedkar as to his demands. 
So Gandhi wrote Ambedkar, 

“Dr. Mr. Ambedkar, 

I would come to see you to-night at 8 p.m. if you can 
spare that time. I would gladly come over to your place if it 
is inconvenient for you to come. 

Bombay : Yours Sincerely 

6-8-31. M. K. Gandhi.” 1 

“Dr. Ambedkar had just arrived from Sangli, and was 
running a temperature. He wrote in reply that he would 
himself go to Gandhi at eight O’Clock that night. But in the 
evening the temperature soared to 106; so Dr. Ambedkar sent 
a message that he would come after the fever abated. 

Subsequently, Ambedkar went to meet Gandhi on August 
14, 1931 at Manibhuvan, at two in the afternoon. A batch of 
his lieutenants, Deorao Naik, Shivtarkar, Pradhan, Bhaurao 
Gaikwad and Kadrekar accompanied him. When Dr. Ambedkar 
was shown in to the third floor, Gandhi was busy talking 
with his partymen and eating some fruits. The Doctor and 
his party bowed to Gandhi and sat on a blanket. 

In the characteristic way which Gandhi observed in dealing 
with non-Muslim and non-European leaders and representatives, 
he did not look at first for a while at Dr. Ambedkar and kept 
chatting with Miss Slade and others. Dr. Ambedkar’s men now 
feared that a little more indifference on the part of Gandhi, a 


1 : Ratnakar Ganvir, Ambedkar-Gandhi: Teen Mulakhati (Marathi), P. 9. 


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52 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

collision would follow. Just then Gandhi turned to Ambedkar 
whom he saw for the first time, and, after formal question, 
he switched on to the main topic. 

Gandhi : Well, Doctor, what have you to say in the matter ? 

Ambedkar : You called me to hear your views. Please tell 
me what you have to say. Or you may please ask me some 
questions and I shall answer. 

Gandhi : ( with a staring look at Ambedkar ): I understand 
that you have got some grievances against me and the 
Congress. I may tell you that I have been thinking over the 
problem of Untouchables ever since my school days — when 
you were not even born. You may perhaps be knowing what 
enormous amount of efforts I had put in to incorporate this 
problem in the programme of the Congress and make it a 
plank of the Congress platform. The Congress leaders opposed 
it on the plea that it was a religious and social question and 
as such it should not be mixed with political ones. This is not 
all. The Congress has spent not less than rupees twenty lakhs 
on the uplift of the Untouchables. And it is really surprising 
that men like you should offer opposition to me and to the 
Congress. If you have to say anythig to justify your stand, 
you are free to do so. 

Ambedkar : It is true, Mahatmaji, that you started to 
think about the problem of Untouchables before I was born. 
All old and elderly persons always like to emphasize the 
point of age. It is also true that because of you the Congress 
Party gave recognition to the problem. But let me tell you 
frankly that Congress did nothing beyond giving formal 
recognition to this problem. You say the Congress spent more 
than rupees twenty lakhs on the uplift of the Untouchables. 
I say it was all waste. With such a backing I could have 
effected an astounding change in the outlook and economic 
conditions of my people. And in that event it would have 
been imperative for you to see me long before. But I tell you 
that the Congress is not sincere about its professions. Had 
it been sincere, it would have surely made the removal of 
Untouchability a condition, like the wearing of khaddar, for 
becoming a member of the Congress. No person who did not 
employ Untouchable women or men in his house, or rear up an 


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I HAVE NO HOMELAND 53 

Untouchable student or take food at home with an 
Untouchable student at least once a week should have been 
allowed to be a member of the Congress. Had there been 
such a condition, you could have avoided the ridiculous sight 
where the President of the District Congress Committee was 
seen opposing the temple entry of the Untouchables ! 

You might say that Congress wanted strength and 
therefore it was unwise to lay down such a condition. Then 
my point is that Congress cares more for strength than for 
principles. This is my charge against you and the Congress. 
You say the British Government does not show a change of 
heart. I also say that the Hindus have not shown a change of 
heart in regard to our problem, and so long as they remain 
adamant we would believe neither the Congress nor the 
Hindus. We believe in self-help and self-respect. We are not 
prepared to have faith in great leaders and Mahatmas. Let 
me be brutally frank about it. History tells that Mahatmas, 
like fleeting phantoms, raise dust, but raise no level. Why 
should the Congressmen oppose our movement and dub me 
a traitor ? 

Dr. Ambedkar now grew animated. His face flushed and 
eyes glowed. He paused for a moment and then continued 
in a bitter, indignant tone. 

Ambedkar : Gandhiji, I have no homeland. 

Gandhi : ( taken aback and cutting him short ) : you have 
got a homeland, and from the reports that have reached me 
of your work at the Round Table Conference, I know you 
are a patriot of sterling worth. 

Ambedkar : You say I have got a homeland, but still I 
repeat that I am without it. How can I call this land my 
own homeland and this religion my own wherein we are 
treated worse than cats and dogs, wherein we cannot get 
water to drink ? No self-respecting Untouchable worth the 
name will be proud of this land. The injustice and sufferings 
inflicted upon us by this land are so enormous that if 
knowingly or unknowingly we fall a prey to disloyalty to 
this country, the responsibility for that act would be solely 
hers. I do not feel sorry for being branded as a traitor ; 


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54 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

for the responsibilities of our action lie with the land that 
dubs me a traitor. If at all I have rendered any national 
service as you say, helpful or beneficial, to the patriotic cause 
of this country, it is due to my unsullied conscience and not 
due to any patriotic feelings in me. If in my endeavour to 
secure human rights for my people, who have been trampled 
upon in this country for ages, I do any disservice to this 
country, it would not be a sin; and if any harm does not 
come to this country through my action, it may be due to 
my conscience. Owing to the promptings of my conscience 
I have been striving to win human rights for my people 
without meaning or doing any harm to this country. 

The atmosphere turned grim. Faces changed colour. 
Gandhi was growing restless. He wanted to give a turn to 
Dr. Ambedkar’s talk. Just then Dr. Ambedkar asked him 
the most pertinent question which was the object of the 
interview. 

Ambedkar : Everybody knows that the Muslims and 
the Sikhs are socially, politically and economically more 
advanced than the Untouchables. The first session of the 
Round Table Conference has given political recognition to the 
Muslim demands and has recommended political safeguards 
for them. The Congress has agreed to their demands. The 
first session has also given recognition to the political rights 
of the Depressed Classes and has recommended for them 
political safeguards and adequate representation. According 
to us that is beneficial to the Depressed Classes. What is 
your opinion ? 

Gandhiji : I am against the political separation of the 
Untouchables from the Hindus. That would be absolutely 
suicidal. 

Ambedkar (Rising): I thank you for your frank opinion. 
It is good that I know now where we stand as regards this 
vital problem. I take leave of you.* 

Dr. Ambedkar left the hall, his face beaming with a fiery 
resolve to fight out the issue with all his might and to win 
human rights for his down-trodden people. 


* The Navyug — Ambedkar Special Number, 13 th April 1947. 


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I HAVE NO HOMELAND 55 

The interview thus ended in a grim atmosphere. Gandhi 
was the boss of Indian politics, the dictator, the uncrowned 
king of the Indian masses, who were dazed and electrified 
by his dynamic actions. To answer Gandhi back was to incur 
permanent displeasure and to create undying bitterness. And 
that too a Hindu leader doing it was a thing beyond Gandhi’s 
imagination ! But the die was cast. The spark of opposition 
was ignited. The interview sounded the beginning of a war 
between Gandhi and Ambedkar. 

It is, however, surprising to note here that Gandhi thought 
that Ambedkar was not a Harijan. Till he went to London 
he thought he was some Brahmin who took deep interest in 
Harijans and therefore talked intemperately.* 

Following is the press report of the meeting. 

“Dr. Ambedkar Sees Mr. Gandhi 

Dr. Ambedkar, leader of the Depressed Classes, saw 
Mr. Gandhi on Friday afternoon. He tried to impress on 
Mr. Gandhi his point that the Congress had not so far done 
anything tangible for the Depressed Classes and that Mr. 
Gandhi was under a delusion in imagining that the Depressed 
Classes were solidly behind him as the representative of the 
people. Mr. Gandhi did not admit that the Congress had not 
done anything or was not doing anything for the Depressed 
Classes. Dr. Ambedkar eventually left without convincing Mr. 
Gandhi or being convinced by him .” * 1 

“Dr. Ambedkar on Mr. Gandhi’s Folly 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, the Depressed Classes delegate, who 
had a frank talk with Mr. Gandhi on the previous day about 
his attitude towards the Depressed Classes, interviewed by 
a representative of The Times of India, said : “To place the 
interests of Bardoli above those of India and refuse on that 
account to go to England to take part in the deliberations of 
the Round Table Conference seems to me to be the height of 
folly. To bother about the petty tyrannies of village officers 
and to be unmindful of the bigger problem, the settlement of 
which will enable us to exercise control on those very officers, 
is a thing which I cannot understand.” 

* The Diary of Mahadeo Desai, Vol. I, Navajivan Publishing House, P. 52. 

1 : The Times of India, dated 15th August 1931. 


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56 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Dr. Ambedkar was somewhat sure about particular reply 
which Mr. Gandhi had given him in an interview on the 
previous day. He said he had asked Mr. Gandhi in anticipation 
of his going to the R, T. C. whether he was prepared to accept 
the decision of the Conference that the Depressed Classes 
should be given political recognition in the new constitution 
and like other minorities, should be given political safeguards 
and adequate representation in the legislatures. Dr. Ambedkar 
complained that Mr. Gandhi refused to uphold that view and 
said that if he went to the Round Table Conference he would 
tell them that the conference might do what they liked, but 
in his opinion the suggestion was absolutely suicidal so far 
as the Depressed Classes were concerned.” 1 

• • 


1 . The Times of India, dated 17th August 1931. 


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2 

WHY I SHOULD BE PROUD OF 
THAT RELIGION 

“At the Ballard Pier, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar received a 
telegram from Gandhi asking him to see the latter in Yeravda 
Jail. Dr. Ambedkar wired back to Gandhi that he would see 
him on his return from Delhi. The next day Dr. Ambedkar 
received a wire from Dr. Ba Maw of Rangoon which said : 
“Burma anti-separatist leaders proceeding to Delhi next week 
to meet Indian leaders during the Assembly session. They are 
anxious to discuss Burma constitutional situation with you 
and other leaders. We, therefore, request you to meet the 
deputation in Delhi on 4th and 5th February. Kindly wire 
your Delhi address to enable us to get in touch with you there. 
Reply U Chit Hlaing, 80, Hermitage Rd., Rangoon, — U Chit 
Hlaing and Dr. Ba Maw.” Several congratulatory messages 
were received in Dr. Ambedkar’s office from all quarters of 
the country. One of them was from the Thiya Yuvajan Samaj 
of Ernakulam, congratulating their great leader gratefully on 
the bold fight he gave at the Round Table Conference for the 
rights and liberties of the Depressed Classes and the people 
of the Native States. 

Immediately Dr. Ambedkar left Bombay for Delhi to 
attend the informal meeting of delegates to the Round Table 
Conference convened by the Viceroy. After his return from 
Delhi, he wired to Gandhi that he would be able to see him 
on the 4th February. Gandhi informed Dr. Ambedkar by 
wire on February 3 : “Wire just received tomorrow 12-30 will 
suit — Gandhi.” It is clear that Dr. Ambedkar could not meet 
the Burma delegation in Delhi as he wanted to see Gandhi 
in Yeravda Jail on February 4, 1933. 

Accompanied by S. N. Shivtarkar, Dolas, Upasham, Kowly, 
Ghorpade and Keshavrao Jedhe, Dr. Ambedkar entered Yeravda 
Jail at 12-30, on February 4. In a happy mood Gandhi got up and 
welcomed the visitors. After a while, the conversation turned to 
the question of temple entry. Gandhi requested Dr. Ambedkar 
to lend his support to Dr. Subbarayan’s Bill and that of Ranga 
Iyer. Dr. Ambedkar flatly refused to have anything to do with 


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58 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Subbarayan’s Bill, since the Bill did not condemn 
Untouchablility as a sin. It only said that if a referendum 
favoured the temple entry, temples should be thrown open 
to the Depressed Classes, but said nothing of their right to 
worship the deity in the temples. 

He told Gandhi that the Depressed Classes did not want to 
be Shudras in the order of the caste system and added that 
he honestly could not call himself a Hindu. Why, he asked, 
he should be proud of that religion which condemned him to 
a de-graded position. If that system was to continue, he had 
no use of the benefits of the temple entry. 

Gandhi said that according to him the caste system was not 
a bad system. He continued : “Let the touchable Hindus have 
an opportunity to expiate their sins and purify Hinduism. Do 
not be in diff erent to this question. Sanatanists and Government 
would take advantage of this. If this reformation takes place, 
the Untouchables would rise in society.” 

Dr. Ambedkar differed from Gandhi. He was convinced 
that if the Untouchables made progress in the economic, 
educational and political fields, temple entry would follow 
automatically.” 1 

• • 


1 : Keer, Pp. 226-227 


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3 

WHAT MORE GANDHI EXPECTED 
FROM THE SANATANISTS ? 

“Dr. B. R. Ambedkar decided to sound Gandhi on the 
question of the panel and primary elections of the Depressed 
Class candidates in the light of the coming constitution of India. 
He was in a hurry to make preparations for his departure 
to London. Yet he had to attend meetings, to attend courts 
or dispose of the cases, to make arrangements for domestic 
affairs, and to select books. Accompanied by Mr. More, Shinde, 
Gaikwad and Chavan, he saw Gandhi on April 23, 1933 in 
Yeravda Jail. Gandhi and Ambedkar sat in chairs under the 
mango tree and Mahadev Desai sat nearby with a note book 
and pencil. 

At first Dr. Ambedkar said that the method of panel 
would be expensive and told Gandhi that candidates from the 
Depressed Classes, who would contest the general election, 
should have secured at least 25 per cent of the votes of the 
Depressed Classes in the primary election. Gandhi replied 
that he would give consideration to the matter and would 
inform him about his reaction to his London address. Gandhi, 
then, gave a bunch of flowers to Dr. Ambedkar and diverted 
the conversation to the question of removal of Untouchability 
and said that the Sanatanists were decrying him (Gandhi) as 
a devil, Daitya. Dr. Ambedkar asked Gandhi what more he 
expected from the Sanatanists ! Gandhi caught the thread and 
said that the leader of the Depressed Classes himself was not 
pleased with his work. In the end Gandhi asked Ambedkar 
about the date of his return from London. Dr. Ambedkar 
replied that it would be about August 1933. Gandhi wished 
Dr. Ambedkar bon voyage and the interview ended.” 1 

• • 


\ Keer, P. 238. 


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4 

TO TAKE LEGAL STEPS AGAINST HIGH CASTE 
HINDUS WHO HARASSED UNTOUCHABLES 
“ Talk with Dr. Ambedkar 

“Dr. B. R. Ambedkar and members of his group had a lengthy 
talk with Mahatma Gandhi at Mani Bhuvan on Saturday, the 16th 
June 1934 morning on the question of the progress of the Harijan 
Movement has done since Gandhiji launched the campaign against 
Untouchability. 

Gandhiji, it appears, told the deputationists that his tour in 
more than 200 villages had impressed him with the fact that the 
movement against Untouchability was making rapid progress and 
the evil is slowly dying away. 

Dr. Ambedkar is stated to have a different view from this view 
and said that Gandhiji’s presence in a village or place, created an 
abnormal atmosphere as the presence of a saint or sadhu would do, 
and people temporarily forget the difference. Gandhi was, therefore, 
not in a position to judge the exact situation. 

He is also stated to have suggested to Gandhiji that the Harijan 
Board should render financial assistance to Harijans to take legal 
steps against High Caste Hindus who harassed the former. 

Gandhiji is stated to have replied that persuasion was the best 
method of removing the evil and that the question of giving legal 
aid would have to be considered by the Board. 

One of the members of the deputation is stated to have asked 
Gandhiji whether the Harijan Board would be in existence after 
August 7 ? upto which time Gandhiji is under a vow to take part 
only in non-political activities. The same member asked Gandhiji, 
if he had received any divine inspiration as to his future action. 

Gandhiji replied that he had received none so far and restored, 
“If you want you can as well receive inspiration from God.” 

Ambedkar Deputation 

The members of the Deputation led by Dr. Ambedkar who met 
Mahatma Gandhi on Saturday were : — 

Mr. G. V. Naik 

Dr. P. G. Solanki 

Mr. Amritrao Khambe, and 

Mr. Baburao Gaikwad.” 1 


1 : The Bombay Chronicle, dated 17th June 1934. 


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SECTION III 


ROLE OF DR. B. R. AMBEDKAR IN 
BRINGING THE UNTOUCHABLES ON 
THE POLITICAL HORIZON OF INDIA AND 
LAYING A FOUNDATION OF INDIAN 
DEMOCRACY 


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ROLE OF DR. B. R. AMBEDKAR IN BRINGING 
THE UNTOUCHABLES ON THE POLITICAL 
HORIZON OF INDIA AND LAYING A 
FOUNDATION OF INDIAN DEMOCRACY 

“In the Government of India Act of 1919, there was 
a provision which had imposed an obligation on his 
Majesty’s Government to appoint at the end of ten years 
a Royal Commission to investigate into the working of 
the Constitution and report upon such changes as may be 
found necessary. Accordingly, in 1928 a Royal Commission 
was appointed under the Chairmanship of Sir John Simon. 
Indians expected that the Commission would be mixed 
in its personnel. But Lord Birkenhead who was then the 
Secretary of State for India was opposed to the inclusion of 
Indians and insisted on making it a purely Parliamentary 
Commission. At this, the Congress and the Liberals took 
great offence and treated it as an insult. They boycotted 
the Commission and carried on a great agitation against 
it. To assuage this feeling of opposition it was announced 
by His Majesty’s Government that after the work of the 
Commission was completed representative Indians would 
be assembled for a discussion before the new constitution 
for India is settled. In accordance with this announcement 
representative Indians were called to London at a Round 
Table Conference with the Representatives of Parliament 
and of His Majesty’s Government.” 1 

“In order to ease the troubled situation in India, the 
British Government decided to re-examine and revise the 
Act of 1919. So it announced the appointment of the Indian 
Statutory Commission better known as the Simon Commission 
after Sir John Simon, its Chairman. The Commission 
consisted of two Peers and four Commoners to work under 
Sir John Simon, who was a great Parliamentarian, and it 
was declared that the proposals framed in the light of this 
Commission’s recommendations would be submitted to a 
Joint Select Committee at Westminster before which Indian 
witnesses would be examined. 


1 : Writings and Speechs Vol. 9, P. 40 


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The Simon Commission came on its first visit, and 
landed at Bombay on February 3, 1928, to commence the 
work of re-examination of the Indian problem as declared 
in the Act of 1919. Its non-Indian character offered an 
affront to almost all Indian parties. The Congress Party 
decided to boycott the Commission at every stage and 
in every form. So, on its arrival, the Simon Commission 
was greeted with black flags, curses and placards with 
the slogan “Go back, Simon!” Congressmen staged hostile 
demonstrations on a nation-wide scale, and the police had 
to open fire at some places. This black welcome was also 
extended later to the Commission during its second visit 
in the winter of 1928-29. 

Meanwhile, the All Parties Conference convened by 
the Congress Party met in February and later in May 
1928, and appointed a Committee under Pandit Motilal 
Nehru to draft a Swaraj Constitution for India. The 
Nehru Committee worked from June to August 1928 and 
drafted a Constitution.* 

It mainly aimed at closing the Muslim breach. 
As regards the Depressed or Suppressed Classes, 
the Nehru Report said : “In our suggestions for the 
Constitution we have not made any special provision 
for the representation of the ‘Depressed’ Classes in the 
legislatures. This could only be done by way of special 
electorates or by nomination.” But as these two methods 
were considered harmful and unsound, the Committee 
said that they were not going to extend either principle. 
They observed that their Declaration of Rights would 
be a panacea for all the ills affecting the Depressed 
Classes.** The attitude of the Congress Party towards 
the problem of the Untouchables will be clearer when 
one notices that the Congress Working Committee 
issued invitations to all prominent Muslim, Parsi, 
Christian, Sikh, Anglo-Indian organisations and even the 

* For comment by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, see editorial of ‘Bahishkrit 
Bharat’ dated 18th January 1929 — Editors. 

** All Parties Conference Report, 1928, Pp. 59-60. 


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Non-Brahmin institution and the Dravida Mahajana 
Sabha, but not to the Depressed Classes Institute led by 
Dr. Ambedkar or for that matter any Depressed Class 
Institution. It may be recalled that ten years before this 
Dr. Ambedkar had given evidence before the Southborough 
Commission. 

To co-operate with the Simon Commission the Central 
Government appointed a Committee for all British India, and 
every Legislative Council elected its Provincial Committee 
to work with the Simon Commission. On the Bombay 
Provincial Committee was selected Dr. Ambedkar along 
with other Members by the Bombay Legislative Council 
on August 3, 1928. 

The proceedings and tours of the Simon Commission lit 
up the Indian political firmament, and along with other 
forces it brought to the front the force, intellect and vitality 
of Dr. Ambedkar. 

Eighteen Depressed Class Associations gave evidence 
before the Commission and placed their memorandum before 
it. Sixteen of them pleaded for Separate Electorates for the 
Depressed Classes. On behalf of the Bahishkrit Hitakarini 
Sabha Dr. Ambedkar submitted a memorandum to the Simon 
Commission demanding Joint Electorate with reservation 
of seats for the Depressed Classes.* 

The Madras Central Adi-Dravida Mahajana Sabha 
demanded nomination for the Depressed Classes. The 
Bombay Provincial Non-Brahmin Party in its memorandum 
recommended Separate Electorate and reserved seats for 
the Depressed Classes. The Muslim League reiterated its 
demands for separation of Sind, creation of a new Province in 
the N. W. F., Separate Elecrorate for Muslims and residuary 
power for the Provinces in the federal constitution. 

On October 23, 1928, the Simon Commission, the Central 
Committee and the Bombay Provincial Committee examined Dr. 
Ambedkar in Poona.** The British Labour leader, Major Atlee, 

*See Writings and Speeches, Vol. 2. Pp. 429, 458. 

** Ibid, Pp. 459-89. 


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66 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

who later became the Prime Minister of Britain, was a member 
of the Simon Commission. Attlee asked Dr. Ambedkar some 
pertinent question in the course of the Doctor’s examination. 

The work of the Simon Commission continued till the 
winter. The Provincial Committees were also drafting their 
own reports. The Committee appointed by the Bombay 
Legislative Council to co-operate with the Simon Commission 
after hearing both official and non-official evidence relating 
to the constitutional problem, submitted later their report 
on May 7,1929.* 

Dr. Ambedkar, who fundamentally differed with the 
Committee, did not sign that report and submitted a separate 
report containing his own views and recommendations on 
May 17, 1929.* Referring to the demand for the separation 
of Karnatak, he said he was opposed to the separation of 
Karnatak from the Bombay Presidency because “the principle 
of one language one province is too large to be given effect 
to in practice. The number of provinces that will have to 
be carved out if the principle is to be carried to its logical 
conclusion shows in my opinion its un workability”. “For I am 
of the opinion,” declared the patriot in Dr. Ambedkar, “that 
the most vital need of the day is to create among the mass 
of the people the sense of a common nationality, the feeling 
not that they are Indians first and Hindus, Mohammedans or 
Sindhis and Kanarese afterwards, but that they are Indians 
first and Indians last. If that be the ideal then it follows that 
nothing should be done which will harden local patriotism 
and group consciousness.” 

As regards the separation of Sind which had assumed 
tremendous significance in those days, he said it was a 
sectional demand, a part of a large scheme designed to make 
the communal majority of the Muslims a political majority in 
five provinces. “The scheme,” he warned the nation, “is neither 
so innocent nor so bootless as it appears on the surface.” He 
asserted that the motive that lay behind the scheme was 
undoubtedly a dreadful one involving the maintenance of justice 


* See Writings and Speeches, Vol. 2. Pp. 315-401. 


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and peace by retaliation and had stemmed from the principle 
that the best way of keeping peace was to be prepared 
for war. To support his conclusions he quoted the address 
delivered to the Muslim League Session at Calcutta by the 
Gandhian nationalist Muslim leader, Maulana Azad, in 
which the Muslim leader said : “There would be nine Hindu 
Provinces as against five Muslim Provinces and whatever 
treatment Hindus accorded to the Muslims in the nine 
provinces, Muslims would accord the same treatment to the 
Hindus in the five provinces. Was not this a great gain ? 
Was not a new weapon gained for the assertion of Muslim 
rights?” This is a searchlight on the Gandhian nationalist 
Muslim leaders. 

Dr. Ambedkar then dealt with the Muslim demand for 
Separate Electorates. He described how different people in 
Europe lived under a common Government in proximity of 
each other without objecting to a common electorate. He 
observed : “It does not seem to be sufficiently known that 
India is not the only country where the Mohammedans are 
in a minority. There are other countries in which they occupy 
the same position. In Albania, the Mohammedans form a 
very large community. In Bulgaria, Greece and Rumania 
they form a minority and in Yugoslavia and Russia they 
form a large majority. Have the Mohammedan communities 
there insisted upon the necessity of separate communal 
electorates ? As all students of political history are aware, 
the Mohammedans in these countries have managed without 
the benefit of Separate Electorates : nay, they have managed 
without any definite ratio of representation assured to them. 
The Mohammedan case in India, therefore, overshoots the 
mark in my opinion and fails to carry conviction.” The 
communal representation, he said, was so fundamentally 
wrong that to give in to sentiment in its case would be to 
perpetuate an evil. 

Dr. Ambedkar further said: “Although I am for securing 
special representation for certain classes, I am against their 
representation through Separate Electorates. Territorial 
Electorates and Separate Electorates are the two extremes which 


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must be avoided in any scheme of representation that 
may be devised for the introduction of a democratic form 
of Government in this undemocratic country. The golden 
mean is the system of joint electorates with reserved seats. 
Less than that would be insufficient, more than that would 
defeat the ends of good Government.” 

The report, viewed in the context of principles, theories 
and personalities then prevailing, was as rationalistic 
as it was patriotic. It had both a balance and a ballast. 
When it was published, it derived spontaneous eulogy from 
Dr. Ambedkar’s inveterate foes, obstinate critics and the 
hostile press. Dr. Ambedkar was found overnight to be a 
great politician, a great patriot, a diamond in the abysmal 
coal-mine of the Untouchables, a statesman of rare gift. 
Like a meteor and a mentor, he emerged as one of the 
great political minds of his generation. Thus this Report 
bound him to the active destinies of his country! It will be 
a sure guide to historians.” 1 

As stated above Dr. B. R. Ambedkar had submitted 
his separate report containing his own views and 
recommendation. The Summary of Recommendation is 
below : 


“SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS 

SECTION I 

There should be no separation of Karnatak or Sind from 
the Bombay Presidency. 

SECTION II 

Chapter 1 . — There should be complete responsibility 
in the Provincial executive subject to the proviso that if 
members of the Legislature resolve to make it a reserved 
subject effect shall be given to their resolution. 


1 : Keer, Pp. 114-117, and 121-23. 


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Chapter 2. — Under no circumstances should the 
executive be made irremovable. There shall be no communal 
representation in the executive. Ministers should be amenable 
to courts of law for illegal acts. The constitution should 
provide for the impeachment of Ministers. There should be 
joint responsibility in the executive. The executive should be 
presided over by a Prime Minister and not by the Governor. 

Chapter 3 . — The Governor should have the position of a 
constitutional head. He should have no emergency powers. 

SECTION III 

Chapter 1 . — There should be adult franchise. 

Chapter 2. — The Legislature should be wholly elective. 
All class and Communal Electorates should be abolished 
except for Europeans. Reserved seats should be provided for 
Mohamedans, Depressed Classes and Anglo-Indians and to 
the Non-Brahmins only if the franchise continues to be a 
restricted one. 

Chapter 3 . — The Legislature should consist of 140 
members. Of these Mohamedans should have 33 and the 
Depressed Classes 15. The under-representation of certain 
districts and the over-representation of others should be 
rectified on the basis of population. There should be a 
Committee to adjust seats between different classes and 
interests. The requirement of a residential qualification for 
a candidate should be removed. 

Chapter 4 . — Lucknow Pact is not a permanent settlement 
and cannot prevent consideration of the question arising out 
of it afresh and on their own merits. 

Chapter 5 . — There should be no second chamber in the 
Province. 

Chapter 6 . — The Legislature should have the power of 
appointing and removing the President, of defining its privileges 
and regulating its procedure Sections 72D and 80C of the 
Government of India Act should be removed from the Statute. 


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70 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

The Legislature should have the power to move “a 
motion of no confidence”. The Legislature should have the 
power to alter the constitution subject to certain conditions. 

SECTION IV 

Chapter 1 . — There should be Complete Provincial 
Autonomy. The division of functions between Central and 
Provincial should be reconsidered with a view to do away 
with the control of Central Government now operating 
through the system of previous sanction and subsequent 
veto. 

Chapter 2. — Within the limits fixed by the functions 
assigned to the Provincial Government the relations 
between that Government and the Home Government 
should be direct and not through the medium of the Central 
Government. Section 2 of the Government of India Act 
should be deleted as it obscures the position of the Crown 
in relation to the governance of India. 

SECTION V 

There should be a distinct Provincial Civil Service and 
the Secretary of State should cease altogether to perform 
the function of a recruiting agency. His functions regarding 
the Services may be performed by a Provincial Civil 
Service Commission or by an officer acting conjointly with 
the Public Service Commission of India. Indianisation of 
Services should be more rapid. Its pace should vary with the 
nature of the different departments of State. Indianisation 
should be accompanied by a different scale of salary and 
allowances. In the course of Indianisation of the services 
arrangement should be made for the fulfilment of claims 
of the backward classes.” 1 


17th May 1929 


Dr. B. R. AMBEDKAR 


1 : Writings and speeches, Vol. 2, Pp. 400-01. 


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“At long lost the report of the Simon Commission came 
out in may 1930. The Commission disregarded the meaning 
and aim of Indian nationalism and its forces. It recommended 
a continuation of Separate Electorate in Indian elections 
far want of any agreed pact among the Indian political 
parties : It was the opinion of the Commission that the 
Nehru Report was not an agreed solution.” 1 

In order to discuss the future political Constitution 
of India the Government decided to hold Round Table 
Conferance at London. It was necessary that the Depressed 
Classes must at the critical junture assert themselves and 
make it clear to the power that be as to what safeguards 
and guarantees the future Constitution of India must contain 
for the protection of their civic rights. With this view it was 
decided in consultation with Dr. B. R. Ambedkar to bring 
out people from the difference provinces of India together 
for the purpose of the discussion. Accordingly the All India 
Depressed Classes Congress was convened at Nagpur under 
the Presidentship of Dr. B. R„ Ambedkar on 8th/9th August 
1930. On 8th August 1930 Dr. Ambedkar spoke of the 
Indian problem in the context of British Imperialism or 
world affair keeping in view the safeguards and guarantees 
to be provided to the Depressed Classes in the proposed 
Constitution of India. 

“As declared, the British Government convened a Round 
Table Conference in London consisting of the representatives 
of India, the British Government and the British Political 
parties to frame a Constitution for India with a view to 
satisfying the demands of the people of India. 

The Round Table Conference consisted of eighty-nine 
Members, out of which sixteen were representatives of 
the three British parties, fifty-three Indian Members 
of the delegation representing various interest except 
the non-co-operting Congress, and twenty of the Indian 
States. Amongst the invitees were thirteen eminent 
Hindu liberal leaders including Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru, 
M. R. Jayakar, Sir Chimanlal Setalvad, Srinivas 


1 : Keer, P. 139. 


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Sastri and C. Y. Chintamani. Representing the Muslims, 
were H. H. the Aga Khan, Sir Muhamed Shafi, Mohomed Ali 
Jinnah, and Fazlul Huq, while Sardar Ujjal Singh represented 
the Sikhs, Dr. B. S. Moonje, the Hindu Mahasabha, K. T. 
Paul, the Indian Christians, Rulers of Alwar, Baroda, Bhopal, 
Bikaner, Kashmir, Patiala and Sir Akbar Hydari, Sir C. P. 
Ramaswamy Aiyar, Sir Mirza Ismail represented the Indian 
States. Sir A. P. Patro and Bhaskarrao V. Jadhav represented 
other interests; Dr. Ambedkar and Rao Bahadur Srinivasan 
represented the Depressed Classes. Dr. Ambedkar received the 
invitation to the Round Table Conference through the Viceroy 
on September 6, 1930. The Round Table Coference was indeed 
a great event in the history of both India and England. But 
to the Untouchables in particular it was an epoch-making 
event in their history; for, it was at this Conference that they 
were being invested along with other Indians with the right 
to be consulted in the framing of the Constitution for India. 
Their voice was to echo for the first time in the history of 
two thousand years, and more so in the governance of their 
Motherland. 

Dr. Ambedkar left Bombay for London on October 4, 1930, 
by the s.s. Viceroy of India. The atmosphere in the country 
was not congenial to his departure. The whole country was 
in a turmoil. Congressmen hated, abused and cursed those 
leaders who co-operated with the British Government in solving 
the Indian problem in their own honest way. The situation 
was so tense and fraught with danger that Dr. Ambedkar 
wrote from Aden, on October 8, to Shivtarkar, his secretary 
and trusted lieutenant, that he was very anxious for their 
safety. He warned them to be on their guard in their walks 
and talks and to avoid all work at night. He asked him to 
lock the office of the party with an iron bar across it and to 
watch the movements of a certain Depressed Class leader 
in Bombay who was at loggerheads with their organization. 

Dr. Ambedkar found the political atmosphere in England 
much sympathetically inclined to the problem of the Depressed 
Classes. On his arrival, he immediately began to contact 
Britain’s important political party bosses in connection with the 
problem of the Depressed Classes. Yet he was anxious to know 


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by cable from India about the new list of the members 
nominated to the Bombay Legislative Council and about the 
judgment of the Court on the Chawdar Tank Case. 

The curtain was raised on November 12, 1930. Keen 
interest was evinced by the British public in the opening of the 
Round Table Conference. Approaches to the House of Lords, 
the avenue of the Conference, were thronged by spectators. 
His Majesty the King-Emperor appeared. Inaugurating the 
Conference, he said : “More than once the Sovereign has 
summoned historic assemblies on the soil of India, but never 
before have British and Indian statesmen and Rulers of 
Indian States met, as you now meet, in one place round one 
table, to discuss the future system of Government for India 
and seek agreement for the guidance of my Parliament as 
to the foundations upon which it must stand.” The King- 
Emperor concluded by expressing a hope : “May your names 
go down to history as those of men who served India well”. 
After the King-Emperor had withdrawn from the House, 
Ramsay MacDonald was unanimously elected Chairman of 
the Round Table Conference. A labour leader and author of 
The Government of India, he expressed Britain’s determination 
to solve the Indian problem, and said that they were at the 
birth of a new history. 

The Round Table Conference was not a Constituent 
Assembly entrusted with the work of drafting a Constitution. 
It was a gathering of Indian and British statesmen who were 
not to take decisions by votes. The sense of the Conference 
on the main issues which came up before it for consideration 
was to be ascertained and noted. 

The venue of the Conference thereafter shifted to St. James’ 
Palace. During the course of a general discussion which took 
place from 17th November to 21st November, Sapru, Jayakar. 
Moonje, Jinnah, the Maharaja of Bikaner and Dr. Ambedkar 
made very sincere and impressive speeches. In his lucid 
and appealing style the guide, friend and philosopher of the 
Conference, Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru, said : “India wants and is 
determined to achieve, a status of equality — equality with all 
the three members of the British Commonwealth — an equality 
which will give it a Government not merely responsive to, but 
responsible to the popular voice.” 


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The Maharaja of Bikaner identified himself and the princely 
order with the aspirations of British India and declared that 
the Princes were prepared to federate of their own free will 
with self-governing Federal British India. This was a surprise 
to all. This declaration of Federation was also endorsed by 
the Maharaja of Patiala and the Nawab of Bhopal. 

The Muslim Members welcomed an All-India Federation : 
but with great vigour they pressed for a status for the North- 
West Province equal to that of the other Provincial units 
of British India and for the creation of a separate province 
of Sind. 

Jayakar, in his deep and sweet flow of speech, asked for a 
declaration of Dominion Status, and added: “If you give India 
Dominion Status today, in the course of a few months the cry 
of independence will die of itself. If, on the other hand, we 
return empty-handed from our labours in the Conference, it 
will be the surest way of raising in volume and in intensity 
this demand for independence.” 

Dr. Moonje, following the Maharaja of Patiala, refuted all 
the arguments of Lord Peel and told the Conference how the 
British Government had crushed Indian shipping, cotton and 
other industries. He added that the British belief that they 
would put down the National Movement of Civil Disobedience 
by a display of force was erroneous ; the time had passed. 

N. M. Joshi pleaded for more rights for the labourers in the 
new constitution. Sir Mirza said that the future constitution 
should be based on federal basis. Sir C. P. Ramaswami Iyer 
opined that the future constitution should be worth living 
under. Then, after two or three speakers, rose a man, stout, 
sober and confident, with scintillating eyes and tight lips. 
Arisen from the lowest rung to the height by dint of his 
mental and moral force alone, he sat there in the assembly of 
the princes and potentates, legal celebrities and great brains 
representing great thrones, jahagirs, institutions and interests. 
He represented the poorest of India’s poor who were half-fed, 
half-nude and dumb ! What would he say now ? How would 
he say it ? There was in the Assembly the prince who had 
financed his education. There was one amongst them who was 


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his teacher in the school. All eyes were rivetted upon the 
speaker. He was not the least agitated. He knew his mind; 
he knew what to say and how to say it. Except the Premier 
MacDonald and Joshi none from that August Assembly had 
seen poverty in its crudest and ugliest form. There were 
highlights in the Conference, Pundits and literateurs, but 
he was the only leader who had attained the highest degree 
in the academic world, the Doctorate in Science. This man 
was Dr. Ambedkar, the leader of the suppressed humanity 
in India. 

At the outset, Dr. Ambedkar declared that in speaking 
before the Conference, he was placing the viewpoint of one- 
fifth of the total population of British India — a population 
as large as the population of England or France — which was 
reduced to a position worse than that of a serf or a slave. He 
then declared to the surprise of all that the Untouchables in 
India were also for replacing the existing Government by a 
Government of the people, for the people and by the people. 
He said that this change in the attitude of the Untouchables 
to British rule in India was surprising and a momentous 
phenomenon. And justifying his stand, he observed with a 
rise in his voice and a glow in his eyes : “ When we compare 
our present position with the one which it was our lot to bear 
in Indian society of pre-British days, we find that, instead of 
marching on, we are marking time. Before the British, we 
were in the loathsome condition due to our Untouchability. 
Has the British Government done anything to remove it ? 
Before the British, we could not draw water from the village 
well. Has the British Government secured us the right to 
the well ? Before the British, we could not enter the temple ? 
Can we enter now? Before the British, we were denied entry 
into the Police Force. Does the British Government admit 
us into the force ? Before the British, we were not allowed 
to serve in the Military. Is that career now open to us ? To 
none of these questions can we give an affirmative answer. 
Our wrongs have remained as open sores and they have 
not been righted, although 150 years of British rule have 
rolled away.” 


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“Of what good is such a Government to anybody ?” he 
asked the Conference. At this the British representatives 
looked at one another. There was a stir among the 
Indian representatives. “It was a Government,” continued 
Dr. Ambedkar, “which did realize that the capitalists were 
denying the workers a living wage and decent conditions of 
work and which did realize that the landlords were squeezing 
the masses dry, and yet it did not remove social evils that 
blighted the lives of the down-trodden classes for several 
years. Although it had,” he proceeded, “the legal powers 
to remove these evils, it did not amend the existing code 
of social and economic life, because it was afraid that its 
intervention would give rise to resistance.” He threrefore, 
declared : We must have a Government in which the men 
in power will give their undivided allegiance to the best 
interests of the country. We must have a Government in 
which men in power, knowing where obedience will end and 
resistance will begin, will not be afraid to amend the social 
and economic ‘ code of life which the dictates of justice and 
expendiency so urgently call for.” 

Dr. Ambedkar upheld the demand for Dominion Status, 
but expressed doubts as to whether the Depressed Classes 
would be heir to it unless the political machinery for the 
new constitution was of a special make. While making that 
constitution, it should be noted, he observed, that the Indian 
society which was formed with an ascending scale of reverence 
and a descending scale of contempt and was a gradation 
of castes, gave no scope for the growth of the sentiment of 
equality and fraternity, and the intelligentsia which came of 
the upper strata and conducted political movements had not 
shed its narrow particularism of castes. Hence he asserted : 
“We feel nobody can remove our grievances as well as we can, 
and we cannot remove them unless we get political powers 
in our own hands. I am afraid the Depressed Classes have 
waited too long for time to work its miracle!” 

Referring to the Indian deadlock, he recalled the memorable 
words of Edmund Burke whom he called the greatest teacher 
of political philosophy that “ the use of force is but temporary” 


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ROLE OF INDIAN DEMOCRACY 77 

Concluding his brilliant speech, he sounded a great warning 
to the British Government and to those who were engaged in 
the “battle of wits” in the Conference : I am afraid it is not 
sufficiently realized that in the present temper of the country, 
no constitution will be workable which is not acceptable 
to the majority of the people. The time when you were to 
choose and India was to accept is gone, never to return. Let 
the consent of the people and not the accident of logic be 
the touchstone of your new constitution, if you desire that 
it should be worked.” * # 

The fearless tone and the bold criticism in the speech had 
a wonderful effect upon the Conference. The frankness and 
fearlessness with which Dr. Ambedkar lucidly put the facts 
before the Conference impressed the delegates immensely, and 
they congratulated him on his brilliant speech. It created a 
good impression upon the British Premier. The Indian Daily 
Mail described this speech as one of the finest bits of oratory 
during the whole Conference. One man in the Conference 
was extremely pleased with his speech. He returned to his 
kingly residence full of admiration, satisfaction and high 
appreciation; and with joyful tears in his eyes, he told his 
princely wife that their efforts and the money they had 
spent on the speaker of the day were all realised. It was an 
achievement, a glorious success ! This admirer was nobody else 
than His Highness the Maharaja of Baroda who invited Dr. 
Ambedkar to a special dinner given by him in London to his 
choice friends. It was a strange freak of destiny that Gaekwad 
and Ambedkar should meet after years of estrangement in a 
melodramatic situation. 

The effect of this powerful speech of Dr. Ambedkar 
was tremendous on the newspapers also. The English 
newspapers and pressmen devoted their attention to the 
leader of the Depressed Classes and English statesmen, 
like Lord Sydenham, O’Dwyer and others, who had 
bitterly criticized Dr. Ambedkar’s Nagpur speech in 
the Spectator, were now thoroughly convinced that Dr. 
Ambedkar was a nationalist; and so they began to whisper 

* Indian Round Table Conference, 1930-31, Proceedings Pp. 123-29. 

#Speeches of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar in R.T.C. See Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar 
Writings and Speeches Vol. 2 — Editors. 


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78 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

that he also was one of the revolutionary leaders of India. Some 
of the English statesmen confidentially asked A. B. Latthe 
whether Dr. Ambedkar belonged to the revolutionary camp. 
And this inquiry on the part of the British statesmen was not 
unexpected. It may be recalled how the British secret police 
had taken a full search of Dr. Ambedkar when he landed in 
Britain, in 1917 from America. 

During the early period of the Conference, there was an 
attempt made by the Liberal leaders — Sapru, Sastri and 
Satalvad, to reach an agreement with the Muslim delegates on 
the communal question. The Hindu delegates held meetings at 
the residence of Sir Cowasji Jehangir under the Chairmanship 
of Sastri to discuss the possibility of a compromise with the 
Muslim delegates. Moonje and Jayakar expressed the view 
that such a settlement would be possible after the grant of 
Dominion Status. The Liberal leaders — Jayakar, Moonje and 
Ambedkar held parleys with the Nawab of Bhopal, the Aga 
Khan, Jinnah and others at the residence of the Nawab of 
Bhopal, but the talks broke down over the Muslim demand 
for separation of Sind which was solidly opposed by Moonje 
and Jayakar. Besides, the Muslim leaders were not prepared 
to grant the same proportion of reserved seats to the Hindus 
and Sikhs in Muslim majority Provinces as they asked for 
themselves in others Provinces. 

After the general discussion in the plenary session, 
the Conference appointed nine sub committees and 
Dr. Ambedkar found himself a Member of almost all the 
important subcommittees except the Lederal Structure 
Committee. He served on the Minorities Sub-Committee, the 
Provincial Sub-Committee and the Services Sub-Committee 
with the great luminaries from India and England. In the 
course of the discussion on the report of the Provincial 
Sub-Committee, Dr. Ambedkar supported Chintamani’s view 
that it was absolutely unnecessary and undesirable to have 
a Second Chamber in any province in India. 

While the report of the Defence Committee was being 
discussed, Dr. Ambedkar pleaded that the recruitment to 
the Army should be upon to all Indians consistently with the 
considerations of efficiency and the possession of the necessary 
qualifications. 


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The most important work Dr. Ambedkar did to achieve his 
goal was the preparation of the Declaration of Fundamental 
Rights, safeguarding the cultural, religious and economic 
rights of the Depressed Classes. He prepared the scheme 
with great labour and statesmanship, and submitted it to 
the Minorities Subcommittee for being included in the future 
constitution of India. The title of the scheme was : ‘A Scheme 
of Political Safeguards for the Protection of the Depressed 
Classes in the Future Constitution of a self-governing India.” 1 

The text of the Memorandum alongwith its background 
framed by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar is as follows — Editors. 

“On the 12th November 1930, His late Magesty King 
George V formally inaugurated the Indian Round Table 
Conference. From the point of view of Indians the Round Table 
Conference was an event of great significance. Its significance 
lay in the recognition by His Majesty’s Government of the 
right of Indians to be consulted in the matter of framing 
a constitution for India. For the Untouchables it was a 
landmark in their history. For, the Untouchables were for 
the first time allowed to be represented separately by two 
delegates who happened to be myself and Dewan Bahadur R. 
Srinivasan. This meant that the Untouchables were regarded 
not merely a separate element from the Hindus but also of 
such importance as to have the right to be consulted in the 
framing of a constitution for India. 

The work of the Conference was distributed among 
nine Committees. One of these Committees was called 
the Minorities Committee to which was assigned the most 
difficult work of finding a solution of the Communal question. 
Anticipating that this Committee was the most important 
committee the Prime Minister, the late Mr. Ramsay Mac 
Donald, himself assumed its chairmanship. The proceedings 
of the Minorities Committee are of the greatest importance 
to the Untouchables. For, much of what happened between 
the Congress and the Untouchables and which has led to 
bitterness between them will be found in the proceedings of 
that Committee. 


1 : Keer, Pp. 144-153. 


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80 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

When the Round Table Conference met the political 
demands of communities other than the Untouchables 
were quite well known. Indeed the Constitution of 1919 
had recognized them as statutory minorities and provisions 
relating to their safety and security were embodied in it. In 
their case the question was of expanding those provisions or 
altering their shape. With regard to the Depressed Classes 
the position was different. The Montagu-Chelmsford report 
which preceded the Constitution of 1919 had said in quite 
unmistakable terms that provision must be made in the 
Constitution for their protection. But unfortunately when 
the details of the Constitution were framed, the Government 
of India found it difficult to devise any provisions for their 
protection except to give them token representation in the 
legislatures by nomination. The first thing that was required 
to be done was to formulate the safeguards deemed necessary 
by the Untouchables for their protection against the tyranny 
and oppression of the Hindus. This I did by submitting a 
Memorandum to the Minorities Committee of the Round 
Table Conference. To give an idea of the safeguards that 
were formulated by me, I reproduce below the text of the 
Memorandum: — 

A Scheme of Political Safeguards for the Protection of the 
Depressed Classes in the Future Constitution of a self-governing 
India, submitted to the Indian Round Table Conference. 

The following are the terms and conditions on which the 
Depressed Classes will consent to place themselves under a 
majority rule in a self-governing India. 

Condition No 1: 

EQUAL CITIZENSHIP 

The Depressed Classes cannot consent to subject themselves 
to majority rule in their present state of hereditary bondsmen. 
Before majority rule is established then emancipation from 
the system of Untouchability must be an accomplished fact. 
It must not be left to the will of the majority. The Depressed 
Classes must be made free citizens entitled to all the rights 
of citizenship in common with other citizens of the State. 


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ROLE OF INDIAN DEMOCRACY 81 

(A) To secure the abolition of Untouchability and to create 
the equality of citizenship, it is proposed that the following 
fundamental right shall be made part of the Constitution of 
India. 


FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT 


U.S.A. Constitution 
amendment XIV 
and Government 
of Ireland Act 1920, 
10 & 11 Geo. V. Ch. 
67. Sec. 5 (2). 


“ All subjects of the State in India are equal before the law and 
possess equal civic rights. Any existing 
enactment, regulation, order, custom or 
interpretation of law by which any penalty, 
disadvantage, disability is imposed upon 
or any discrimination is made against 
any subject of the State on account of 
Untouchability shall, as from the day on which this Constitution 
comes into operation, cease to have any effect in India.” 

(B) To abolish the immunities and exemptions now enjoyed 
by executive officers by virtue of Sections 110 
and 111 of the Government of India Act 1919 
and their liability for executive action be made 
co-extensive with what it is in the case of a 
European British Subject. 


This is so in all 
Constitutions. 
See Prof. Keith’s 
remarks in Cm. 
207, p.56. 


Condition No. 1 1 : 


FREE ENJOYMENT OF EQUAL RIGHTS 


It is no use the Depressed Classes to have a declaration 
of equal rights. There can be no doubt that the Depressed 
Classes will have to face the whole force of orthodox society 
if they try to exercise the equal rights of citizenship. The 
Depressed Classes therefore feel that if these declarations of 
rights are not to be mere pious pronouncements, but are to 
be realities of everyday life, then they should be protected 
by adequate pains and penalties from interference in the 
enjoyment of these declared rights. 

(A) The Depressed Classes therefore propose that the 
following sections should be added to Part XI of the Government 
of India Act 1919, dealing with Offences, Procedure and 
Penalties : — 


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DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 


(i) Offence of Infringement of Citizenship. 

“ Whoever denies to any person except for reasons by law 

applicable to persons of all classes and 
regardless of any previous condition of 
Untouchability the full enjoyment of 
any of the accommodations, advantages, 
facilities, privileges of inns, educational 
institutions, roads, paths, streets, tanks, 
wells and other watering places, public 
conveyances on land, air or water, theatres or other places 
of public amusement, resort or convenience whether they are 
dedicated to or maintained or licensed for the use of the public 
shall be punished with imprisonment of either description 
for a term which may extend to five years and shall also be 
liable to fine.” 


U.S. Statutes At Large. 
Civil Rights protection 
Acts of April 9, 1868, 
and of March 1, 1875 — 
passed in the interest of 
the Negroes after their 
emancipation. 


(B) Obstruction by orthodox individuals is not the only 
menace to the Depressed Classes in the way of peaceful 
enjoyment of their rights. The commonest form of obstruction 
is the social boycott. It is the most formidable weapon in the 
hands of the Orthodox Classes with which they beat down any 
attempt on the part of the Depressed Classes to undertake any 
activity if it happens to be unpalatable to them. The way it 
works and the occasions on which it is brought into operation 
are well described in the Report of the Committee appointed 
by the Government of Bombay in 1928 “to enquire into the 
educational, economic and social condition of the Depressed 
Classes (untouchables) and of the Aboriginal Tribes in the 
Presidency and to recommend measures for their uplift.” The 
following is an extract from the same : — 

Depressed Classes and Social Boycott 

“102. Although we have recommended various remedies 
to secure to the Depressed Classes their rights to all public 
utilities we fear that there will be difficulties in the way 
of their exercising them for a long time to come. The first 
difficulty is the fear of open violence against them by the 
Orthodox Classes. It must be noted that the Depressed Classes 
form a small minority in every village, opposed to which is 
a great majority of the orthodox who are bent on protecting 
their interests and dignity from any supposed invasion by 
the Depressed Classes at any cost. The danger of prosecution 


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by the Police has put a limitation upon the use of violence 
by the orthodox classes and consequently such cases are rare. 

“The second difficulty arises from the economic position in 
which the Depressed Classes are found to-day. The Depressed 
Classes have no economic independence in most parts of the 
Presidency. Some cultivate the lands of the Orthodox Classes 
as their tenants at will. Others live on their earnings as farm 
labourers employed by the Orthodox Classes and the rest 
subsist on the food or grain given to them by the Orthodox 
Classes in lieu of service rendered to them as village servants. 
We have heard of numerous instances where the Orthodox 
Classes have used their economic power as a weapon against 
those Depressed Classes in their villages, when the latter have 
dared to exercise their rights, and have evicted them from 
their land, and stopped their employment and discontinued 
their remuneration as village servants. This boycott is 
often planned on such an extensive scale as to include the 
prevention of the Depressed Classes from using the commonly 
used paths and the stoppage of sale of the necessaries of life 
by the village Bania. According to the evidence sometimes 
small causes suffice for the proclamation of a social boycott 
against the Depressed Classes. Frequently it follows on the 
exercise by the Depressed Classes of their right to the use 
of the common-well, but cases have been by no means rare 
where a stringent boycott has been proclaimed simply because 
a Depressed Class man has put on the sacred thread, has 
bought a piece of land, has put on good clothes or ornaments, 
or has carried a marriage procession with the bridegroom on 
the horse through the public street. 

“We do not know of any weapon more effective than 
this social boycott which could have been invented for the 
suppression of the Depressed Classes. The method of open 
violence pales away before it, for it has the most far reaching 
and deadening effects. It is more dangerous because it passes 
as a lawful method consistent with the theory of freedom of 
contact. We agree that this tyranny of the majority must 
be put down with a firm hand, if we are to guarantee the 
Depressed Classes the freedom of speech and action necessary 
for their uplift.” 


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84 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

In the opinion of the Depressed Classes the only way to 
overcome this kind of menace to their rights and liberties is 
to make social boycott an offence punishable by law. They are 
therefore bound to insist that the following sections should 
be added to those included in Part XI, of the Government 
of India Act 1919, dealing with offences, Procedure and 
Penalties. 


I. OFFENCE OF BOYCOTT DEFINED 

(i) A person shall be deemed to boycott another who — 

(a) refuses to let or use or occupy any 
house or land, or to deal with, work for 
hire, or do business with another person, 
or to render to him or receive from him 
any service, or refuses to do any of the 
said things on the terms on which such 
things should commonly be done in the 
ordinary course of business, or 

(b) abstains from such social, professional or business 
relations as he would, having regard to such existing customs 
in the community which are not inconsistent with any 
fundamental right or other rights of citizenship declared in 
the Constitution ordinarily maintain with such person, or 

(c) in any way injures, annoys or interferes with such 
other person in the exercise of his lawful rights. 

II. PUNISHMENT FOR BOYCOTTING 

Whoever, in consequence of any person having done any 
act which he was legally entitled to do or of his having 
omitted to do any act which he was legally entitled to omit 
to do, or with intent to cause any person to do any act which 
he is not legally bound to do or to omit to do any act which 
he is legally entitled to do, or with intent to cause harm to 
such person in body, mind, reputation or property, or in 
his business or means of living, boycotts such person or any 
person in whom such person is interested, shall be punished 
with imprisonment of either description which may extend 
to seven years or with fine or with both. 


This and the following 
legal provisions are 
bodily taken from 
Burma Anti-Boycott 
Act, 1922, with a few 
changes to suit the 
necessities of the 
case. 


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Provided, that no offence shall be deemed to have been 
committed under this Section, if the Court is satisfied that the 
accused person has not acted at the instigation of or in collusion 
with any other person or in pursuance of any conspiracy or of 
any agreement or combination to boycott. 

III. PUNISHMENT FOR INSTIGATING OR 

PROMOTING A BOYCOTT 

Whoever — 

(a) publicly makes or publishes or circulates a proposal for, or 

(b) makes, publishes or circulates any statement, rumour or 
report with intent to, or which he has reason to believe to be 
likely to, cause or 

(c) in any other way instigates or promotes the boycotting 
of any person or class of persons, shall be punished with 
imprisonment which may extend to five years, or with fine or 
with both. 

Explanation. — An offence under this section shall be deemed 
to have been committed although the person affected or likely to 
be affected by any action of the nature referred to herein is not 
designated by name or class but only by his acting or abstaining 
from acting in some specified manner. 

IV. PUNISHMENT FOR THREATENING A 

BOYCOTT 

Whoever, in consequence of any person having done any act 
which he was legally entitled to do or of his having omitted to 
do any act which he was legally entitled to omit to do, or with 
intent to cause any person to do any act which he is not legally 
bound to do, or to omit to do any act which he is legally entitled 
to do, threatens to cause such person or any person in whom 
such person is interested, to be boycotted shall be punished with 
imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend 
to five years or with fine or with both. 

Exception : — It is not boycott 

(i) to do any act in furtherance of a bona fide labour dispute, 

(ii) to do any act in the ordinary course of business competition. 

N.B . — All these offences shall be deemed to be cognizable 
offences. 


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86 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Condition No. Ill 

PROTECTION AGAINST DISCRIMINATION 

The Depressed Classes entertain grave fears of 
discrimination either by legislation or by executive order being 
made in the future. They cannot therefore consent to subject 
themselves to majority rule unless it is rendered impossible in 
law for the legislature or the executive to make any invidious 
discrimination against the Depressed Classes. 

It is therefore proposed that the following Statutory provision 
be made in the constitutional law of India : — 

“It shall not be competent for any Legislature or executive 
in India to pass a law or issue an order, rule or regulation so 
as to violate the rights of the Subjects of the State, regardless 
of any previous condition of Untouchability, in all territories 
subject to the jurisdiction of the dominion of India, 

(1) to make and enforce contracts, to sue, be parties, and 
give evidence, to inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold and convey 
real and personal property, 

(2) to be eligible for entry into the civil and military 
employment and to all educational institutions except for such 
conditions and limitations as may be necessary to provide 
for the due and adequate representation of all classes of the 
subjects of the State. 

(3) to be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the 
accommdations, advantages, facilities, educational institutions, 
privileges of inns, rivers, streams, wells, tanks, roads, paths, 
streets, public conveyances on land, air and water, theatres, 
and other places of public resort or amusement except for such 
conditions and limitations applicable alike to all subjects of 
every race, class, caste, colour or creed, 

(4) to be deemed fit for and capable of sharing without 
distinction the benefits of any religious or charitable trust 
dedicated to or created, maintained or licensed for the general 
public or for persons of the same faith and religion, 

(5) to claim full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings 
for the security of person and property as is enjoyed by other 
subjects regardless of any previous condition of Untouchability 
and be subject to like punishment, pains and penalties and 
to none other. 


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ROLE OF INDIAN DEMOCRACY 87 

Condition No. IV 

ADEQUATE REPRESENTATION IN THE 
LEGISLATURES 

The Depressed Classes must be given sufficient political 
power to influence legislative and executive action for the 
purpose of securing their welfare. In view of this they demand 
that the following provisions shall be made in the electoral 
law so as to give them — 

(1) Right to adequate representation in the Legislatures of 
the Country, Provincial and Central. 

(2) Right to elect their own men as their representatives — 

(a) by adult suffrage, and 

(b) by separate electorates for the first ten years and 
thereafter by joint electorates and reserved seats, 
it being understood that joint electorates shall not 
be forced upon the Depressed Classes against their 
will unless such joint electorates are accompanied 
by adult suffrage. 

N.B. — Adequate Representation for the Depressed Classes 
cannot be defined in quantitative terms until the extent of 
representation allowed to other communities is known. But 
it must be understood that the Depressed Classes will not 
consent to the representation of any other community being 
settled on better terms than those allowed to them. They will 
not agree to being placed at a disadvantage in this matter. In 
any case the Depressed Classes of Bombay and Madras must 
have weightage over their population ratio of representation, 
irrespective of the extent of representation allowed to other 
minorities in the Provinces. 

Condition No. V 

ADEQUATE REPRESENTATION IN THE SERVICES 

The Depressed Classes have suffered enormously at 
the hands of the high caste officers who have monopolized 
the Public Services by abusing the law or by misusing 
the discretion vested in them in administering it to the 
prejudice of the Depressed Classes and to the advantage 
of the Caste Hindus without any regard to justice, equity 
or good conscience. This mischief can only be avoided by 


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88 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

destroying the monopoly of caste Hindus in the Public Services 
and by regulating the recruitment to them in such a manner 
that all communities including the Depressed Classes will have 
an adequate share in them. For this purpose the Depressed 
Classes have to make the following proposals for statutory 
enactment as part of the constitutional law : — 

(1) There shall be established in India and in each Province 
in India a Public Service Commission to undertake the 
recruitment and control of the Public Services. 

(2) No member of the Public Service Commission shall be 
removed except by a resolution passed by the Legislature 
nor shall he be appointed to any office under the Crown 
after his retirement. 

(3) It shall be the duty of the Public Service Commission, 
subject to the tests of efficiency as may be prescribed, 

(a) to recruit the Services in such a manner as will 
secure due and adequate representation of all 
communities, and 

(b) to regulate from time to time priority in employment 
in accordance with the existing extent of the 
representation of the various communities in any 
particular service concerned. 

Condition No. VI 

REDRESS AGAINST PREJUDICIAL ACTION 
OR NEGLECT OF INTERESTS 

In view of the fact that the Majority Rule of the future 
will be the rule of the orthodox, the Depressed Classes 
fear that such a Majority Rule will not be sympathetic to 
them and that the probability of prejudice to their interests 
and neglect of their vital needs cannot be overlooked. It 
must be provided against particularly because, however 
adequately represented the Depressed Classes will be in a 
minority in all legislatures. The Depressed Classes think it 
very necessary that they should have the means of redress 
given to them in the Constitution. It is therefore proposed 


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ROLE OF INDIAN DEMOCRACY 89 

that the following provision should be made in the Constitution of 
India : — 

“In and for each Province and in and for India it shall be the 
duty and obligation of the Legislature and the 
British North Executive or any other Authority established by Law to 
America Act, make adequate provision for the education, sanitation, 
1867. sec. 93. recruitment in Public Services and other matters of 
social and political advancement of the Depressed 
Classes and to do nothing that will prejudicially affect them. 

“(2) Where in any Province or in India the provisions of this 
section are violated an appeal shall lie to the Governor-General in 
Council from any act or decision of any Provincial Authority and to 
the Secretary of State from any act or decision of a Central Authority 
affecting the matter. 

“(3) In every such case where it appears to the Governor-General 
in Council or to the Secretary of State that the Provincial Authority or 
Central Authority does not take steps requisite for the due execution of 
the provisions of this Section then and in every such case, and as far 
only as the circumstances of each case require the Governor-General 
in Council or the Secretary of State acting as an appellate authority 
may prescribe, for such period as they may deem fit, take remedial 
measures for the due execution of the provisions of this section and 
of any of its decisions under this Section and which shall be binding 
upon the authority appealed against. 

Condition No. VII 

SPECIAL DEPARTMENTAL CARE 

The helpless, hapless and sapless condition of the Depressed 
Classes must be entirely attributed to the dogged and determined 
opposition of the whole mass of the orthodox population which 
will not allow the Depressed Classes to have equality of status 
or equality of treatment. It is not enough to say of their economic 
condition that they are poverty-stricken or that they are a class of 
landless labourers, although both these statements are statements 
of fact. It has to be noted that the poverty of the Depressed Classes 
is due largely to the social prejudices in consequence of which many 
an accupation for earning a living is closed to them. This is a fact 
which differentiates the position of the Depressed Classes from 
that of the ordinary caste labourer and is often a source of trouble 
between the two. It has also to be borne in mind that the forms of 
tyranny and oppression practised against the Depressed Classes are 


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90 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

very various and the capacity of the Depressed Classes to 
protect themselves is extremely limited. The facts, which 
obtain in this connection and which are of common occurrence 
throughout India, are well described in the Abstracts of 
Proceedings of the Board of Revenue of the Government 
of Madras, dated 5th Nov. 1892, No. 723, from which the 
following is an extract: — 

“134. There are forms of oppression only hitherto hinted 
at which must be at least cursorily mentioned. To punish 
disobedience of Pariahs, their masters — 

(a) Bring false cases in the village court or in the criminal 
courts. 

(b) Obtain, on application, from Government waste lands 
lying all round the paracheri, so as to impound the 
Pariahs’ cattle or obstruct the way to their temple. 

(c) Have mirasi names fraudulently entered in the 
Government account against the paracheri. 

(d) Pull down the huts and destroy the growth in the 
backyards. 

(e) Deny occupancy right in immemorial sub-tenancies. 

(f) Forcibly cut the Pariahs’ crops, and on being resisted, 
charge them with theft and rioting. 

(g) Under misrepresentations, get them to execute 
documents by which they are afterwards ruined. 

(h) Cut off the flow of water from their fields. 

(i) Without legal notice, have the property of sub-tenants 
attached for the land-lords’ arrears of revenue. 

“135. It will be said there are civil and criminal courts 
for the redress of any of these injuries. There are the courts 
indeed; but India does not breed village Hampdens. One 
must have courage to go to the courts; money to employ legal 
knowledge, and meet legal expenses; and means to live during 
the case and the appeals. Further most cases depend upon 
the decision of the first court; and these courts are presided 
over by officials who are sometimes corrupt and who generally, 
for other reasons, sympathize with the wealthy and landed 
classes to which they belong. 


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“136. The influence of these classes with the official world 
can hardly be exaggerated. It is extreme with natives and 
great even with Europeans. Every office, from the highest to 
the lowest, is stocked with their representatives, and there 
is no proposal affecting their interests but they can bring a 
score of influence to bear upon it in its course from inception 
to execution.” 

There can be no doubt that in view of these circumstances 
the uplift of the Depressed Classes will remain a pious hope 
unless the task is placed in the forefront of all governmental 
activities and unless equalization of opportunities is realized 
in practice by a definite policy and determined effort on 
the part of Government. To secure this end the proposal of 
the Depressed Classes is that the Constitutional Law should 
impose upon the Government of India a statutory obligation to 
maintain at all times a department to deal with their problems 
by the addition of a section in the Government of India Act 
to the following effect : — 

“1. Simultaneously with the introduction of this Constitution 
and as part thereof there shall be created in the Government 
of India a Department to be in charge of a Minister for the 
purpose of watching the interests of the Depressed Classes and 
promoting their welfare. 

“2. The Minister shall hold office so long as he retains the 
confidence of the Central Legislature. 

“3. It shall be the duty of the Minister in the exercise of any 
powers and duties conferred upon him or transferred to him 
by law, to take all such steps as may be desirable to secure 
the preparation, effective carrying out and co-ordination of 
measures preventative of acts of social injustice, tyranny or 
oppression against the Depressed Classes and conducive to 
their welfare throughout India. 

“4. It shall be lawful for the Governor-General — 

(a) to transfer to the Minister all or any powers or duties 
in respect of the welfare of the Depressed Classes arising 
from any enactment relating to education, sanitation, 
etc. 

( b ) to appoint Depressed Classes welfare bureaus in each 
province to work under the authority of and in co- 
operation with the Minister. 


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92 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Condition No. VIII 

DEPRESSED CLASSES AND THE CABINET 

Just as it is necessary that the Depressed Classes should 
have the power to influence governmental action by seats 
in the Legislature so also it is desirable that the Depressed 
Classes should have the opportunity to frame the general 
policy of the Government. This they can do only if they 
can find a seat in the Cabinet. The Depressed Classes 
therefore claim that in common with other minorities, 
their moral rights to be represented in the Cabinet should 
be recognized. With this purpose in view the Depressed 
Classes propose that in the Instrument of Instructions 
an obligation shall be placed upon the Governor and the 
Governor General to endeavour to secure the representation 
of the Depressed Classes in his Cabinet .” 1 

“Dr. Ambedkar despatched some copies of this 
Declaration of Fundamental Rights to his followers in 
India, asked them to hold meetings in different cities 
in support of the demands presented to the Minorities 
Sub-Committee by the Depressed Class representatives, 
and instructed them to send copies of the resolutions to 
Ramsay MacDonald, stating that those demands were 
the irreducible minimum for willing co-operation of the 
Depressed Classes : otherwise they would not consent to 
any constitution for self-government. Accordingly, a number 
of wires poured into the office of the British Premier from 
all parts of India .” 2 

Similarly, the provisions for a settlement of the 
communal problem put forward jointly by Muslims, 
Depressed Classes, Indian Christians, Anglo-Indians and 
Europeans in the form of memorandum, was submitted to 
the Minorities Committee. The text of memorandum reads 
as follows : Editors. 


1 : Proceedings of the Sub-Committee No. Ill (Minorities) Pp. 168-176. 

2 :Keer, P. 153. 


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“Provisions for a settlement of the communal 
problem put forward jointly by Muslims, Depressed 
Classes, Indian Christians, Anglo-Indians and 

Europeans 

Claims of Minority Communities 

1. No person shall by reason of his origin, religion, caste or 
creed be prejudiced in any way in regard to public employment, 
office of power or honour, or with regard to enjoyment of his 
civic rights and the exercise of any trade or calling. 

2. Statutory safeguards shall be incorporated in the 
Costitution with a view to protect against enactments of the 
Legislature of discriminatory laws affecting any community. 

3. Full religious liberty, that is, full liberty of bellief, worship 
observances, propaganda, associations and education shall be 
guaranteed to all communities subject to the maintenance of 
public order and morality. 

No person shall merely by change of faith lose any civic 
right or privilege, or be subject to any penalty. 

4. The right to establish, manage and control, at their 
own expense, charitable, religious and social institutions, 
schools and other educational establishments with the right 
to exercise their religion therein. 

5. The Constitution shall embody adequate safeguards for 
the protection of religion, culture and personal law, and the 
promotion of education, language, charitable institution of the 
Minority Communities and for their due share in grants-in-aid 
given by the State and by the self-governing bodies. 

6. Enjoyment of civic rights by all citizens shall be 
guaranteed by making any act for omission calculated to 
prevent full enjoyment an offence punishable by law. 

7. In the formation of Cabinets in the Central Governnment 
and Provincial Governments, so far as possible, members 
belonging to the Musalman community and other minorities 
of considerable number shall be included by convention. 

8. There shall be Statutory departments under the Central 
and Provincial Government to protect Minority Communities 
and to promote their welfare. 


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94 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

9. All communities at present enjoying representation in 
any Legislature through nomination or election shall have 
representation in all Legislatures through Separate Electorates 
and the minorities shall have not less than the proportion set 
forth in the Annexure but no majority shall be reduced to a 
minority or even an equality. Provided that after a lapse of 
ten years it will be open to Muslims in Punjab and Bengal 
and any minority communities in any other Provinces to 
accept Joint Electorates, or Joint Electorates with reservation 
of seats, by the consent of the community concerns. Similarly 
after the lapse of ten years it will be open to any minority 
in the Central Legislature to accept Joint Electorates with or 
without reservation of seats with the consent of the community 
concerned. 

With regard to the Depressed Classes no change to Joint 
Electorates and reserved seats shall be made until after 
20 years’ experience of Separate Electorates and until direct 
adult suffrage for the community has been established. 

10. In every Province and in connection with the Central 
Government a Public Service Commission shall be appointed, 
and the recruitment to the Public Services, except the 
proportion, if any, reserved to be filled by nomination by 
the Governor-General and the Governors, shall be made 
through such Commission in such a way as to secure a fair 
representation to the various communities consistently with the 
considerations of efficiency and the possession of the necessary 
qualifications. Instructions to the Governor-General and the 
Governors in the Instrument of Instructions with regard to 
recruitment shall be embodied to give effect to this principle, 
and for that purpose, to review periodically the composition 
of the services. 

11. If a Bill is passed which, in the opinion of two- 
thirds of the members of any Legislature representing a 
particular community affects their religion or social practice 
based on religion, or in the case of fundamental rights of 
the subjects if one-third of the members object, it shall 
be open to such members to lodge their objection thereto, 
within a period of one month of the Bill being passed by the 
House, with the President of the House who shall forward 
the same to the Governor-General or the Governor, as the 


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ROLE OF INDIAN DEMOCRACY 95 

case may be, and he shall thereupon suspend the operation 
of that Bill for one year, upon the expiry of which period 
he shall remit the said Bill for further consideration by the 
Legislature. When such Bill has been further considered by 
the Legislature and the Legislature concerned has refused to 
revise or modify the Bill so as to meet the objection thereto, 
the Governor-General or the Governor, as the case may be 
may give or withhold his assent to it in the exercise of his 
discretion, provided further that, the validity of such Bill may 
be challenged in the Supreme Court by any two members 
of the denomination affected thereby on the grounds mat it 
contravenes one of their fundamental rights. 

Special Claims of Musalmans 

A. The North-West Forntier Province shall be constituted 
a Governor’s Province on the same footing as other Provinces 
with due regard to the necessary requirements for the security 
of the Frontier. 

In the formation of the Provincial Legislature the 
nomination shall not exceed more than 10 per cent of the 
whole. 

B. Sind shall be separated from the Bombay Presidency 
and made a Governor’s Province similar to and on the same 
footing as other Provinces in British India. 

C. Musalman representation in the Central Legislature 
shall be one-third of the total number of the House, and their 
representation in the Central Legislature shall not be less 
than the proportion set forth in the Annexure. 

Special Claims of the Depressed Classes 

A. The Constitution shall declare invalid any custom or 
usage by which any penalty or disadvantage or disability 
is imposed upon or any discrimination is made against any 
subject of the State in regard to the enjoyment of civic rights 
on account of Untouchability. 

B. Generous treatment in the matter of recruitment to 
Public Service and the opening of enlistment in the Police 
and Military Service. 


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96 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

C. The Depressed Classes in the Punjab shall have the 
benefit of the Punjab Land Alienation Act extended to them. 

D. Right of Appeal shall lie to the Governor or Governor- 
General for redress of prejudicial action or neglect of interest 
by any Executive Authority. 

E. The Depressed Classes shall have representation not 
less than set forth in the Annexure. 

Special Claims of the Anglo-Indian Community 

A. Generous interpretation of the claims admitted by Sub- 
Committee No. VIII (Services) to the effect that in recongnition 
of the peculiar position of the community special consideration 
should be given to the claim for public employment, having 
regard to the maintenance of an adequate standard of living. 

B. The right to administer and control its own educational 
institutions, i.e., European education, subject to the control 
of the Minister. 

Provisions for generous and adequate grants-in-aid and 
scholarships on the basis of present grants. 

C. Jury rights equal to those enjoyed by other communities 
in India unconditionally of proof of legitimacy and descent 
and the right of accused persons to claim trial by either a 
European or an Indian Jury. 

Special Claims Of The European Community 

A. Equal rights and privileges to those enjoyed by Indian- 
born subjects in all industrial and commercial activities. 

B. The maintenance of existing rights in regard to procedure 
of criminal trials, and any measure or bill to amend, alter 
or modify such a procedure cannot be introduced except with 
the previous consent of the Governor-General. 

Agreed by — 

HIS HIGHNESS THE AGA KHAN (Muslims), 

DR. AMBEDKAR (Depressed Classes), 

RAO BAHADUR PANNIR SELVAM (Indian Christians), 

SIR HENRY GIDNEY (Angol-Indians), 

SIR HUBERT CARR (Europeans). 


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DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 


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Sind and N.W.F.P. Weightage similar to that enjoyed by the Musalmans in the Provinces in which they constitute a 
minority of the population shall be given to the Hindu minority in Sind and to the Hindu and Sikh minorities in the N.W.F.P. 


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ROLE OF INDIAN DEMOCRACY 99 

Explanatory Memorandum to the said 
Memorandum 

1. The suggested details for community representation 
have not been agreed by the Hindus or the Sikhs, but the 
full representation claimed by the latter in the Central 
Legislature is provided for. 

2. The proposed distribution of seats for the different 
minorities constitutes a whole scheme and the detailed 
proposals cannot be separated one from another. 

3. This distribution of seats follows the principle that 
in no case is the majority community to be reduced to the 
position of a minority of even equality. 

4. No representaion is provided for Commerce, Landlords, 
Industry, Labour, etc. It being assumed that these seats 
are ultimately communal and that communities desiring 
special representation for these interests may do so out of 
the communal quota. 

5. The allowance of 3314 per cent representation to 
Muslims in the Central Legislature is based on the 
assumption that 26 per cent shall be from British India and 
at least 7 per cent by convention out of the quota assigned 
to the Indian States. 

6. In the Punjab the suggested common sacrifice by the 
Muslims, Caste Hindus and the Depressed Classes, would 
permit of a weightage of 54 per cent, being given to the 
Sikhs, giving them representation of 20 per cent, in the 
Legislature. 

7. The proposals may be taken as being acceptable to 
well over 115 millions of people, or about 46 per cent of 
the population of India.” * 

The British Premier tried in his own way to bring the Indian 
delegates to a frame of mind for a settlement. The Premier’s 
daugther gave a party to choice delegates. The Maharaja of Baroda, 

*This appeared as appendix III in the original proceeding of the Federal 
Structure Committee and Minorities Committee, Pp. 1394-99. 


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Dr. Ambedkar, Sir Mirza Ismail, Jinnah, Tambe and few others 
attended it. The British Premier took some of the delegates to 
his country home at Chequers. They had a talk there relating 
to the Indian problem, but there, too, they could not come to a 
settelment. 

The Minorities Sub-Committee submitted its report to the 
Conference. The last paragraph of that report recorded that “the 
Minorities and Depressed Classes were definite in their assertion 
that they could not consent to any self-governing constitution of 
India unless their demands were met in a reasonable manner.” 

Like Joshi, Jadhav and Paul, Dr. Ambedkar dissented from 
the proposals of the Franchise Sub-Committee as in their opinion 
the proposals were inadequate, and they pleaded for immediate 
introduction of adult franchise. In the written speech, which he 
could not make for want of time, Dr. Ambedkar warned the British 
Government that it would be betraying the Depressed Classes if 
by limiting the franchise the Labour Government left them to 
the mercy of those who had taken no interest in their welfare. 

Such was his sincerity and devotion to the problem and to 
the welfare of his people that Dr. Ambedkar worked day and 
night, sought interviews, gave interviews, supplied information, 
and even addressed a meeting of some Members of the British 
Parliament to acquaint them fully with the problem of the 
Untouchables. He took every opportunity of contributing articles 
to foreign journals, of issuing statements to the foreign press 
and of addressing meetings in London with the sole object of 
exposing the intolerable humiliations and unbelievable suffering 
under which the Depressed Classes were groaning in India for 
ages. In appeal after appeal to the Press he said that the cause of 
the Untouchables in India needed the support of the enlightened 
world. He, therefore, urged that it was the sacred duty of the 
people at large to help the solution of their problem on the basis 
of humanity! 

The result was that the world came to know for the first time 
that the fate of the Untouchables in India was worse than that 
of the Negroes in America. The appeal moved some of the British 
leaders and consequently a deputation consisting of some Members 


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ROLE OF INDIAN DEMOCRACY 101 

of the British Parliament such as Miss Eleanor, Miss 
Ellen, Norman Angle and a few others, waited on Lord 
Sankey and pleaded for investing the Depressed Classes 
with franchise, and for removing their disabilities. Lord 
Sankey promised that in their proposed political set-up 
they would be placed with the other classes and masses of 
India. Some of the British papers, however were hostile to 
Dr. Ambedkar because he said, “I do not oppose the move 
for Dominion Status” * He said that he, too did not mind 
their indifference or opposition to his cause. 

Dr. Ambedkar’s profound study, great industry and 
conquering intellect created a tremendous impression 
upon the delegates and the British statesmen. He inspired 
respect as well as hatred in different circles. The Indian 
Daily Mail reporter observed: “Dr. Ambedkar pointed 
out that he had a mandate to see that no responsible 
Government was established, unless it was at the same 
time, accompanied by a truly representative Government. 
He voiced a fear that the proposed form of Government 
would be one of the masses by the classes and his protest 
found much echoing sympathy in the Labour and Liberal 
Parties of Great Britain.” 

After recording the reports of the different Sub- 
Committees, the Round Table Conference adjourned 
on January 19, 1931. This was followed by a debate 
on India in the House of Commons. During the course 
of the debate, one voice echoed the grievances of the 
Depressed Classes. It was Issac Loot who was a man of 
broader sympathies. Referring to the disabilities of the 
Untouchables, he said, “If we do not establish safeguards 
for their protection, their blood may cry out against us. 
If I had any advice to give to future Governors, it will 
be ‘Let your main concern be for these people.’ They 
may be defenceless now, but one day they will be strong. 
As there is justice upon the earth, there is no bank 


* Dr. Ambedkar’s letter 19th December 1930. 


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102 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

that can keep back for ever the accumulated sufferings of 
these people. The real test of the progress of India twenty 
years hence will be ‘what have you done for these people ?” 
This speech was an eloquent tribute to Dr. Ambedkar’s 
ceaseless work in London. 

Before leaving London, Dr. Ambedkar expressed his 
opinion on the work of the Round Table Conference in a 
letter to his secretary Shivtarkar that although he was 
in two minds as to the outcome of the Conference, he 
was confident that it had laid the foundation of the self- 
government of India. Viewed in this light the Conference 
was a success. Yet viewed from another angle, he observed 
that the foundation had more of sand than mortar.* Hence 
the foundation was not strong enough. But so far as the 
rights of the Depressed Classes were concerned, it was a 
tremendous success, he added. 

The notable contribution of this session of the Round 
Table Conference to Indian political thought was the 
evolution of the conception of a United India. Another solid 
outcome was the definite emergence of the Depressed Classes 
in the political picture of India, and more important was 
the brilliant and moving exposition of their insufferable 
conditions by Dr. Ambedkar before the bar of world opinion. 
Owing to disagreement on the question of seats, which the 
different communities sought to secure in the proposed 
legislatures, and on the system of election whether separate 
or joint electorates with reserved seats should be employed, 
the Conference was adjourned. Besides, it must have been 
thought that taking any vital decision at that time was like 
reckoning without hosts ; for Congress, the major political 
party of India, had not participated in the proceedings. 
Dr. Ambedkar left for India, embarking at Marseilles on 
February 13, 1931.” * 1 


* Dr. Ambedkar’s letter, 21st January 1931. 

1 :Keer, Pp. 154-157. 


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“ DEPRESSED CLASSES AND FUTURE CONSTITUTION 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, who also arrived in Bombay on Friday 
the 27th February 1931 morning was given an enthusiastic 
reception at Ballard Pier by a battalion of the Ambedkar Seva 
Dal Interviewed by a representative of The Times of India he 
made the following statement:” The Round Table Conference is 
to my mind a triumph of statesmanship. It would be an idle 
pretence to say that there are no defects in the Constitution 
as outlined by the Conference, but in my opinion they are 
not of a vital character. Even assuming the contrary to be 
the truth there is yet time and opportunity for all those who 
believe in a peaceful solution of the Indian problem to step 
in and improve the framework. My greatest disappointment 
arises from the fact that the Constitution as outlined by the 
Conference is most undemocratic in as much as it is based on 
a very restricted franchise. It is a great pity that Mr. Gandhi, 
judging from the reports of his pronouncement on the results 
of the Conference, seems to have entirely lost sight of this 
aspect of the Constitution and is laying stress on elements 
which, I venture to think, are the most trivial and the most 
transient. Those of us who represented the Depressed Classes 
and labour fought for adult suffrage and although we failed, 
because all other parties played false to their position as 
signatories to the Nehru Report. I for one have been living 
in the hope that when Mr. Gandhi comes to lay down his 
terms of settlement he will see to it that the Constitution to 
which he will be a party will be a thoroughly democratic one. 

If Mr. Gandhi fails us in our efforts to secure political 
power to the common man and woman in India, I would not 
hesitate to call his act as the greatest betrayal of trust and 
his campaign of civil disobedience as the worst exploitation of 
the masses for the service of the classes. In view of the fact 
that Mr. Gandhi’s political philosophy is not known to many 
it may be advisable for those leaders of the masses who count 
themselves among his followers and disciples to ask from him 
a declaration of his views on the question of adult suffrage 
before they give him any further support in his campaign of 
civil disobedience.” 


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104 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

The Minority Problem 

“The most important problem is, of course, the minority 
problem. Without a solution of this problem there can be 
no liberty for India. Unfortunately the Conference failed to 
solve this problem. But a solution must be found before any 
further steps can be taken in the direction of political reform. 
He does not seem to have been realised in India that the 
Conference has virtually made the grant of political power 
dependent upon an agreed solution of the majority problem. 
Regarding the question of the Depressed Classes whom 
Mr. R. M. Srinivasan and myself represented at the Conference, 
I am glad their place in the future Constitution of India is 
secure and their disabilities will be non-existent” 1 . 

“Just at this time the names of the delegates to the second 
session of the Round Table Conference were announced in the 
third week of July. Dr. Ambedkar, Sastri, Saprti, Jayakar, 
Setalvad, Malaviya, Sarojini Naidu, Gandhi, Mirza Ismail, 
Jinnah, Ramaswami Mudaliar and others were invited to 
attend the Conference in London. Dr. Ambedkar was purposely 
dropped out from the Federal Structure Committee at the first 
session of the Round Table Conference. His patriotic mind 
and his fearless advocacy for the common man and democracy 
had given the Britishers an offence. But this time he was 
selected on the Federal Structure Committee, which was vitally 
connected with the drafting of the new Constitution for India. 

Congratulations were showered from all quarters of India 
and even from England on Dr. Ambedkar. Newspapers from the 
opposite camp also began to appreciate his patriotism, his love 
for democracy and his anxiety for the welfare of the common 
man. The Kolaba Samachar, a district paper of note, which 
was hostile to him in matters of social reforms, expressed a 
debt of gratitude to Dr. Ambedkar for the patriotic service he 
had rendered to the country in the Chirner Trial. It recalled 
his services at the time of the visit of the Simon Commission 
and at the first session of the Round Table Conference ; and 
it added that Dr. Ambedkar was a true patriot and would 
fight to break the shackles of the country and help Others 
do so at the second session of the Round Table Conference.” 2 . 

1 : The Times of India, dated 28th February 1931. 

2 : Keen P. 163. 


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The Indian Daily Mail, in its issue dated 21st July 1931, 
congratulating the Doctor upon his nomination to the Federal 
Structure Committee, paid a glowing tribute to Dr. Ambedkar. 

It said : “I congratulate Dr. Ambedkar upon his invitation. 
Dr. Ambedkar made a tremendous impression at the Round 
Table Conference and his speech at the opening session was 
one of the finest bits of oratory delivered during the whole 
Conference. His final attitude to the Sankey report was that 
of’ one who does not approve but also who does not object. ‘ He 
pointed out that he had a mandate to see that no responsible 
Government was established unless it was at the same time, 
accompanied by a truly representative Government. He 
voiced a fear that the proposed form of Government would 
be one of the massses by the classes, and his protest found 
much echoing sympathy in the Labour and Liberal Party 
of Great Britain. On the other hand Dr. Ambedkar will not 
play the old fashioned minority game. He is a patriot and is 
vitally interested in securing self-government. In the future 
discussions, which will centre round the franchise of the senate 
and” the Federal Assembly, this brilliant representative of the 
Depressed Classes is certain to play a most important part.” 1 . 

The Sunday Chronicle in its issue dated 26th July 
1931. under the initials A.T.T., appreciating the services of 
Dr. B. R. Ambedkar as a true nationalist, said ; “One of the 
delegates nominated to the Federal Structure Committee is 
my friend Dr. Ambedkar. When he was in London last year 
attending the R.T.C. I saw a good deal of him. At heart a 
true nationalist he had to put up a stem fight against the 
persuasive coquetry of the British diehards who are anxious 
to win him over to their side and at the same time his task 
was made more difficult by his anxiety to retain his brother 
delegate Rao Bahadur Srinivasan within the Nationalist fold. 
At the Chesterfield Gardens, time and again, he complained 
that Sir Tej Bahadur was giving more to the Princes in the 
process of give and take. But he admitted that Sir Tej had 
to manouvre through a very difficult situation.” 2 . 

1 : Reprinted, Ganvir, Ambedkar-Gandhi : Teen Mulakhati, (Marathi) 
Pp.6-7. 

2 : Ibid. Pp. 7-8. 


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106 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

“The Kesari and several other news-papers expressed 
satisfaction at the nomination of Dr. Ambedkar. Congratulating 
the Doctor and N. M. Joshi, the Journal of the Servants of 
India Society observed : “Being drawn from the humble ranks 
of the society, one representing the labour classes and the 
other Depressed Classes, they are necessarily strangers to 
‘high politics’ as they are understood in this country. They 
have the simple faith of the simple folk whose cause they 
have espoused, and they will not be deterred by the superior 
smile of the eminent personages surrounding them, from 
insisting on the literal application of certain principles which 
they have been taught to hold as inviolable.” A little before 
this the London representative of the Free Press Journal, 
a leading nationalist daily in Bombay, in his reply to Miss 
Mayo had eulogised the services which Dr. Ambedkar had 
rendered at the first session of the Round Table Conference, 
and said that Dr. Ambedkar was a fearless, independent and 
patriotic-minded leader whose fearlessness was unbearable to 
both Hindus and Muslims, and that his opening speech at 
the first session of the Round Table Conference was the best 
speech in the whole proceedings of the Conference. 

It was not decided as yet whether Gandhi would attend 
the Round Table Conference. Naturally all eyes were focussed 
on Manibhuvan at the Malabar Hill in Bombay, owing to 
the mysterious suspense created by Gandhi’s stagecraft and 
statecraft. In the bustle and hurry Gandhi wanted to sound 
Ambedkar as to his demands. So Gandhi wrote to Ambedkar 
on August 6, 1931, informing him that he would come to see 
the latter at eight o’clock that night if Dr. Ambedkar could 
spare the time. Gandhi added that he would gladly come 
over to Dr. Ambedkar’s residence, if it was inconvenient to 
Dr. Ambedkar to come to him.” 1 . 

Accordingly the meeting between Ambedkar and Gandhi 
was held on August 14, 1931, at Manibhuvan, at two in the 
afternoon. 

“SEGREGATING UNTOUCHABLES 

Dr. Ambedkar, the Depressed Classes leader, who saw 
Mr. Gandhi before he sailed by the Mooltan to take part in the Round 
Table Conference, is said to have told the Mahatma a few hometruths 


1 :Keer;Pp. 163-64. 


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about the insincere attitude of the Congress towards the 
grievances of Untouchables. What can the poor Mahatma do 
when the whole country simply believes in Untouchability 7” 1 

The next day was Saturday, August 15, 1931. Almost all 
the Round Table Conference delegates were to sail for London 
by the S. S. Mooltan. The Ballard Pier at Bombay presented 
a picturesque appearance on the day. From princes to paupers 
all soils of people were present at the Pier. Friends, admirers, 
followers and devotees assembled to wish bon voyage to their 
Princes and heroes. One leader who received a great ovation 
as soon as he got down from the car was Dr. Ambedkar. Over 
two thousand volunteers had collected on the road outside and 
greeted him as he arrived at the Mole Station with shouts of 
“Dr. Ambedkar ki jai” and “Long live Dr. Ambedkar ”. 2 

“On boardship Dr. Ambedkar came across Sir Prabhashankar 
Pattani, who asked him about the outcome of the latter’s 
interview with Gandhi. Sir Prabhashankar told Dr. Ambedkar 
that as he had left the hall in the middle of the interview, 
he was not in the know of its outcome or end. Dr. Ambedkar, 
who got the clue from the strange note in the voice of the 
Knight, asked him why he had left the hall in the middle. 
The Knight said bitingly that according to Hindu scriptures 
a gentleman should quit the place where a detractor reviled 
a good man, if the hearer could not cut out the tongue of 
the detractor on the spot. Dr. Ambedkar was all the more 
tickled by the growing insensible temper of the Knight and, 
without any sign of irritation on his face, asked him what 
punishment was prescribed by Pattani’s Hindu scriptures 
for a rank hypocrite and an abject flatterer. At this crack of 
the whip Pattani got wild and asked Dr. Ambedkar what he 
meant by such a brutal attack. Dr. Ambedkar replied that he 
meant what the knight understood and added that Gandhi 
should be freed from the grip of abject flatterers like him. 
The Police Commissioner, Wilson, intervened, and a further 
scene was averted. The Knight must have left a wiser man. 
Indeed, the world would be no less benefited, if all its great 
men turn introspective and get themselves rid of the flattering 
functions of men surrounding them ! 

1 : The Times of India, dated 18th August- 1931. 

2 : Keer:Pp. 168-169. 


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108 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Sarojini Naidu and Malaviya, who were to go by the 
same steamer, cancelled their passages, as Gandhi had not 
yet decided about his departure. In the interview which Dr. 
Ambedkar gave on the steamer he referred to Gandhi ! s refusal 
to go the Round Table Conference and said it was the height 
of folly to place the interests of Bardoli above those of India, 
“to bother about petty grievances and to be unmindful of 
bigger problem the settlement of which will enable him to 
exercise control over those very officers is a thing which I 
cannot understand.” 

Ambedkar was now deeply thinking of Gandhi’s decision 
to oppose his demands. So he sent a message to his people in 
India through his secretary to hold meetings to denounce the 
attitude of Gandhi towards their claims. From Suez he wrote 
another letter to Shivtarkar asking him to send copies of the 
Memorandum which he had submitted to the Minorities Sub- 
Committee of the first session of the Round Table Conference. 
He also asked him to send with Rao Bahadur R. Srinivasan 
the leather bag which he had left behind. 

On the steamer, Jayakan the Maharaja of Rewa and other 
leaders expressed their satisfaction at the imposing sight of 
the Samata Seva Dal of the Depressed Classes. Shaukat Ali 
was glad ; Dr. Moonje was pleased and even expressed his 
hidden joy that in spite of the failure of the Hindu Mahasabha 
to raise such a disciplined volunteer corps, there was one 
organization of the Untouchable Hindus to stand face to face 
with the Muslim volunteers ! Moonje even congratulated 
Dr. Ambedkar on his being the leader of the Untouchables, who 
were conscious enough to know Dr. Ambedkar’s services to their 
cause, and added that they were not indifferent and ungrateful, 
like the Caste Hindus, who knew not their benefactors ! 

On reaching London on August 29, Dr. Ambedkar was down 
with influenza and suffered terribly from vomiting and diarrhoea. 
The illness sapped his energy, so much so that he wrote to 
Shivtarkar that his health was on the brink of a crisis. From 
Monday, September 7, he began to feel better but weakness 
still lingered. All the time he advised Shivtarkar not to utter 
a word about his illness to his wife. One thing weighed on his 
mind. Defeated at the Mahad Sub-judge’s Court the Orthodox 


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ROLE OF INDIAN DEMOCRACY 109 

Hindus had appealed to the District Court at Thana, and 
the judgment of the District Judge at Thana was due. He 
asked Shivtarkar to inform him about it as soon as it was 
delivered. 

In the meanwhile, Gandhi, Vallabhbhai Patel, Jawaharlal 
Nehru and Sir Prabhashankar Pattani met the Viceroy at 
Simla where the differences were patched up, and Gandhi 
left for Bombay to catch the earliest steamer to go to London. 
Gandhi, alongwith Sarojini Naidu, Pandit Mataviya, and his 
party, sailed for England on August 29, and reached London 
on September 12, 1931, 

The second session of the Round Table Conference 
commenced on September 7,1931. This time the personnel 
of the Conference was enlarged by including a few more 
delegates such as Sir Muhamed Iqbal, the Muslim League 
President : Dr. S. K. Dutta. the Christian representative ; 
G. D. Birla, the great financier ; Pandit Malaviya, a Sanatani 
reformer ; Sarojini Naidu, the Nightingale of India ; and Sir 
Ali Imam. The outstanding feature of this session was the 
presence of Gandhi’s enigmatic personality. The first session 
of the R. T. C. was ‘Hamlet’ without the Prince of Denmark ! 

Shortly before the Conference met, a change had come over- 
Britain. The Labour Government was replaced by a National 
Government, the Prime Minister, Ramsay MacDonald, 
remaining in the saddle as before. The Secretary of State for 
India, Wedgwood Benn, was replaced by Sir Samuel Hoare. 
Conservative leaders like Churchill vehemently opposed the 
proposed transfer of power to India. 

The main work of the Round Table Conference was 
to be done in the Federal Structure Committee and the 
Minorities Committee. The Conference was to re-examine 
and amplify the reports prepared by the corresponding 
Committees of the first session of the Round Table 
Conference. Mahatma Gandhi made his first speech in the 
Conference on September 15, 1931, in the Federal Structure 
Committee. He claimed that the Congress represented all 
Indian interests and classes. He told the Conference that 
the Congress represented the Muslims because it had 
Muslims as Presidents and Muslims as members of its 


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110 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Working Committee. It represented the Depressed Classes 
because removal of Untouchability was a plank on the 
political platform of the Congress. Gandhi told the Princes 
that Congress stood for States also inasmuch as “even now 
the Congress had endeavoured to serve the Princes of India by 
refraining from any interference in their domestic and internal 
affairs”. The Congress represented women, Gandhi observed, 
because Congress had Dr. Annie Besant and Sarojini Naidu 
as Presidents. And because he was the sole representative of 
the Congress, it followed that he was the sole representative 
of the Indian nation ! 

Dr. Ambedkar sensed from this speech of Gandhi in what 
direction the wind was blowing. Dr. Ambedkar made his first 
speech in the Federal Structure Committee on the same day. 
He told the Princes that the Federal Structure Committee 
could not blindly give to the State what they wanted. This put 
the Maharaja of Bikaner on his legs, and he replied that nor 
could the States sign a blank cheque either. Dr. Ambedkar, 
emphasizing his point, said that before a State was allowed 
to join the Federation, it must prove that it had the necessary 
resources and the capacity to give its citizens a civilized life, 
and the main condition laid down by Dr. Ambedkar was that 
the States’ representatives to the Federal Assembly should be 
chosen by election and not by nomination. It was his confirmed 
opinion that nomination made the Executive irresponsible to 
the Legislature giving a false appearance to the outside world 
that the Legislature was working normally on the basis of a 
majority rule. He added that the principle of nomination was 
against the principle of responsible Government. As regards 
the demand of the landlords for special representation, he 
said that they should not be given special representation as 
they sided with the orthodox, and thereby defeated the ends 
of freedom and progress. Obviously, this was the first and best 
speech made in defence of the rights of the States’ people. 

These strong views gave a shock to the Princely Order, 
the landlords and their benefactors, who favoured the view of 
the Princes that their representatives to the Lederal Assembly 
should be selected by nomination. The result was that every 
speaker devoted some part or other of his speech to refuting 
or supporting Dr. Ambedkar’s speech as a majority of them 
thought that his views were radical and revolutionary. 


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ROLE OF INDIAN DEMOCRACY 111 

The next day Gandhi expressed his views that the Round 
Table Conference delegates were not the chosen ones of the 
nation, but chosen ones of the British Government. Not 
that Gandhi was not aware of this before his departure to 
London. But he now began to twit the delegates. Regarding 
Dr. Ambedkar’s views on States’ representation on the Federal 
Legislatures, Gandhi said that while his sympathies were, 
broadly speaking, with Dr. Ambedkar, his reason was wholly 
with Gavin Jones and Sir Sultan Ahmed, who echoed the 
views of the Princely Order. Gandhi favoured the proposal for 
Federation, but supported the standpoint of the Princes as 
against the States’ people, saying : “Here we have no right, 
in my humble way, to say to the States what they should do 
and what they shall not do !” 

Gandhi then turned to the pivotal problem that was 
haunting the delegates. He referred to the problem of special 
representation claimed by the different communities, and 
said : “The Congress has reconciled itself to special treatment 
of the Hindu-Muslim-Sikh tangle. There are sound historical 
reasons for it, but the Congress will not extend that doctrine 
in any shape or form. I listened to the list of special interests. 
So far as the Untouchables are concerned, I have not yet 
quite grasped what Dr. Ambedkar has to say, but of course, 
the Congress will share the onus with Dr. Ambedkar of 
representing the interests of the Untouchables. The interests of 
the Untouchables are as dear to the Congress as the interests 
of any other body or of any other individual throughout the 
length and breadth of India. Therefore, I would most strongly 
resist any further special representation.” 

This was nothing but a declaration of war, Ambedkar 
observed, by Gandhi and by the Congress against the 
Untouchables. “With this declaration by Mr. Gandhi,” he 
added, “I knew what Mr. Gandhi would do in the Minorities 
Committee which was the main forum for the discussion of 
this question.” 

On September 18 Ambedkar rose and asked Gandhi 
in the Federal Structure Committee whether the views 
placed by Gandhi regarding the Federal Legislature 
and the formation of the Federal Executive were his 
own or those of the Congress. When Diwan Bahadur, 
Ramaswami Mudaliar stated that the public servants, 


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112 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

who constituted the Political Department, were as 
conscientious and fair as any other body of public servants 
anywhere in India or outside. Dr. Ambedkar at once asked 
him why then he wanted responsible Government at all if that 
was so. In his speech Pandit Malaviya pleaded for patience 
and courtesy to be shown to the Princes and observed that 
had Government utilized all resources and spent sufficient 
money on promoting primary education among the people, 
he was sure the words Depressed Classes would have been a 
matter of history by that time. Dr. Ambedkar at once pointed 
out his own case and said that in spite of his education 
he was still an Untouchable. In the course of his speech 
Sir Akbar Hydari, while replying to Dr. Ambedkar, said : 
“Speeches like those of Dr. Ambedkar, if I may say so, do not 
sufficiently appreciate the realities of the situation.” Upon this 
Dr. Ambedkar answered back : “I have never been guilty of 
not appreciating realities.” 

While discussing the formation of the Federal Constitution, 
nobody referred to the time-limit for initiation of Federation. 
It was Dr. Ambedkar who lifted the veil by saying : “I do not 
know that there would be any British Indian who would like 
to put the establishment of responsible Government in cold 
storage untill the Princes make up their minds to enter into 
the Federal Government of India.” 

During these discussions in the Federal Structure 
Committee there were flashes, exchanges of views, reviews 
of the constitutional history of the world and ideas about 
Free India. Dr. Ambedkar’s speeches on those topics were 
full of information, interest and valuable suggestions. The 
politician, the barrister, the constitutionalist, the professor, 
the defender of the downtrodden millions and the friend of 
the States people profoundly inpressed the Conference with 
different facets of his erudition. 

By now the third week of September 1931 was over. The 
Minorities Committee was to commence its work on September 
28. On the eve of this session, Gandhi’s son, Devdas Gandhi, 
saw Dr. Ambedkar at his residence, and an interview was fixed 
between Gandhi and Dr. Ambedkar at the residence of Sarojini 
Naidu between 9 and 12 p.m. Accordingly, Dr. Ambedkar saw 


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Gandhi and placed his cards on the table. But Gandhi 
did not open his mind and said that he would consent to 
Dr. Ambedkar’s demands if others agreed. 

The Minorities Committee met for the first time on 
September 28, 1931. The Premier admitted that the problem 
of minorites in India had baffled them all. He observed that 
some of the delegates had suggested that Government should 
arbitrate as the delegates themselves had failed to agree, but 
he opined that the arbitration would probably be unacceptable 
to some of them. Upon this the Aga Khan said that Mahatma 
Gandhi was going to see the Muslim delegates that night and 
so he asked for an adjournment. Seconding the Aga Khan, 
Malaviya wished that the general discussion might stand over. 

Dr. Ambedkar was in the know of the secret talks that 
were going on between the Muslim leaders and Gandhi 
regarding the Hindu-Muslim agreement. So referring to the 
motion for adjournment, he said : “As far as the Depressed 
Classes are concerned, we have already presented our case 
to the Minorities Sub-Committee last time. The only thing 
which remains for me to do is to put before this Committee 
a short statement suggesting the quantum of representation 
which we want in different Legislatures.” 

He himself had heard with great pleasure, Dr. Ambedkar 
continued, that further negotiations were going to take place for 
the settlement of the communal issue. He further obvserved:” 
But I would like to make this matter absolutely plain at the 
start. Those who are negotiating ought to understand that 
they are not plenipotentiaries at all; that whatever may be 
the representative character of Mr. Gandhi or the Congress 
people, they certainly are not in a position to bind us — 
certainly not. I say that most emphatically in this meeting.” 
And concluding his speech with a warning, he said : “I want 
to say most emphatically that whoever claims weigthtage 
and whoever is willing to give that weithtage he must not 
give it — he cannot give it — out of my share.” Upon this the 
Chairman, MacDonald said : “Dr. Ambedkar’s position has 
been made absolutely clear, in his usual splendid way. He 
has left no doubt at all about it.”* 


Proceedings of Federal Structure Committee & Minorities Committee, p. 527. 


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114 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

On October 1 Mahatma Gandhi again asked for a week’s 
adjournment. He told the Committee that he was being 
closeted with Muslim leaders of various groups. At this 
Dr. Ambedkar got up and said that he did not wish to create 
any difficulty in arriving at such a settlement, but wanted 
to know whether or not the Depressed Classes would be 
represented on that formal Committee. Gandhi replied in 
the affirmative. Dr. Ambedkar thanked Gandhi for this, and 
turning to the delegates, explained : “Mahatma Gandhi told 
us on the first day that he spoke in the Federal Structure 
Committee that as a representative of the Indian National 
Congress he was not prepared to give political recongnition to 
any community other than the Muslims and the Sikhs. He was 
not prepared to recognize the Anglo-Indians, the Depressed 
Classes and the Indian Christians. I do not think that I am 
doing any violence to etiquette by stating in this Committee 
that when I had the pleasure of meeting Mahatma Gandhi 
a week ago and of discussing the question of the Depressed 
Classes with him and when we, as Members of the other 
minorities, had the chance of talking with him yesterday in 
his office, he told us in quite plain terms that the attitude 
that he had taken in the Federal Structure Committee was 
his full and well-considered attitude.” 

Dr. Ambedkar, then thundered that if the Depressed Classes 
were not going to be recognized in the future constitution of 
India, as was done by the Minorities Sub-Committee during 
the first session of the Round Table Conference, he would 
neither join that particular Committee nor whole-heartedly 
support the proposition for adjournment. Sir Herbert Carr, 
Dr. Dutt and others welcomed the adjournment. 

The discussions between Gandhi and the Muslim leaders 
went on for a week. The newspapers declared that the 
discussions had reached an encouraging stage. It was reported 
that Gandhi had conceded to the Muslims their fourteen points, 
accepted that the residuary powers be vested in federating 
provinces, allowed the Muslims majority in the Punjab and 
in Bengal, and had offered the Muslims a blank cheque. The 
talks, however, failed on the Sikh-Muslim question. 


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On October 8 Gandhi announced, with deep sorrow to 
the Minorities Committee, his utter failure in securing an 
agreed solution of the communal question through informal 
conversations amongst and with the representatives of different 
groups. He said that the causes of failure were inherent in 
the composition of the Indian Delegation, and that they were 
almost all not elected representatives of the parties or groups 
whom they were presumed to represent nor were those whose 
presence was absolutely necessary for an agreed solution. 
He, therefore, moved for an adjournment of the meeting sine 
die. Dr. Ambedkar took up the challenge and stood to reply 
to Gandhi. He said that Gandhi was guilty of a breach of 
understanding according to which it was agreed the previous 
night that none of the delegates was to make any speech or 
any comment that would cause exasperation. 

Dr. Ambedkar’s vitriolic tone began to rise. He thundered: 
“What distaurbs me, after hearing Mr. Gandhi, is that instead 
of confining himself to his proposition, namely, that the 
Minorities Committee should be adjourned sine die, he started 
casting reflections upon the representatives of the different 
communities who are sitting round this Table. He said that 
the delegates were the nominees of Government, and that they 
did not represent the views of their respective communities for 
whom they stood, we cannot deny the allegation that we are 
nominees of the Government, but speaking for myself, I have 
not the slightest doubt that even if the Depressed Classes of 
India were given the chance of electing their representatives 
to this Conference, I would all the same, find a place here. 
I say therefore, that whether I am a nominee or not, I fully 
represent the claims of my community. Let no man be under 
any mistaken impression as regards that.” 

The Mahatma has been claiming, “Dr. Ambedkar 
proceeded” that the Congress stands for the Depressed 
Classes, and that the Congress represents the Depressed 
Classes more than I or my colleagues can do. To that claim 
I can only say that it is one of the many false claims which 
irresponsible people keep on making although the persons 
concerned with regard to those claims have been invariably 
denying them.’* Dr. Ambedkar thereupon showed how he had 


Proceedings of Federal Structure Committee & Minorities Committee, p. 534. 


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116 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

received from the farthest Untouchable corner of India — from 
the places which he had never visited and from the men he 
had never seen — telegrams supporting the stand taken by 
him. He then told the Committee that either the Committee 
should solve the problem or the British Government should 
undertake its solution. In his utter disappointment and fear 
he said that the Depressed Classes were not anxious about 
the transfer of power under the present circumstances, but 
if the Government wanted to transfer power, it should be 
accompanied by such conditions and by such provisions that 
the power should not find itself into the hands of a clique, 
into the hands of the oligarchy, or into the hands of a group of 
people whether Mohammedans or Hindus; the solution should 
be such that the power should be shared by all communities 
in their respective proportions. 

The Prime Minister appealed to the Delegates not to 
attribute causes to any method by which they had been elected 
or to their own personal shortcomings. He asked them to face 
the facts and asked them whether the problem existed in 
India or not. The speech of the Premier was rather pungent 
in tone and some called it ingrate, full of bitter sideshafts 
against Gandhi. 

Dr. Ambedkar’s vigorous propaganda did not stop here. He 
wrote from London, on October 12, a letter to The Times of 
India throwing light on the whole episode. “We are, however, 
reliably informed,” he wrote, “that in carrying his negotiations 
with our Muslim friends, Mr. Gandhi demanded that as one 
of the conditions for his accepting their fourteen points, they 
should oppose the claims of the Depressed Classes, and the 
smaller minorities.” “To say in public,” Dr. Ambedkar observed 
with his caustic ruthlessness,” I will agree if all others agree, 
and then to set out to work in private to prevent others from 
so agreeing by buying off those who are willing to agree, is, 
in our opinion, a piece of conduct unbecoming a Mahatma 
and to be expected only from an inveterate opponent of the 
Depressed Classes. Mr. Gandhi is not only not playing the 
part of a friend of the Depressed Classes, but he is not even 
playing the part of an honest foe.” 


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In his letter home Dr. Ambedkar foretold that the 
Round Table Conference would end in a fiasco, and in his 
opinion Gandhi was responsible for that failure. According to 
Dr. Ambedkar, Gandhi’s partiality, discriminating conduct in 
solving the problem of the minorities, his equivocal manner of 
dealing, his absolute disregard for the other representatives, the 
insults he inflicted upon them — all these qualities did not help 
Gandhi to solve the problem tactfully, Dr. Ambedkar further 
observed that Gandhi’s diabolical way of playing one community 
against another was now quite clear ! His undemocratic mental 
set-up, Dr. Ambedkar concluded, had given a rude shock to a 
man like Harold Laski, and Congress leaders, like Vithalbhai 
Patel, were murmuring disapproval of Gandhi’s mishandling 
the situation ! 

Gandhi’s hostility to the demands put forth by Dr. Ambedkar 
had wide repercussions and reaction in the quarters of the 
Untouchables all over India. The All-India Depressed Classes 
Conference, under the presidentship of Rao Bahadur M. C. 
Rajah, at its Gurgaon session, declared that Gandhi was 
misrepresenting the case of the Untouchables, and strongly 
denounced the claim made by Gandhi that the Congress had 
been taking care of the Untouchables from the beginning and 
had championed the cause of the Untouchables. “I say,” said 
Rajah, the President of the Conference, “that these statements 
are untrue.” 

The Conference supported the demands put forth by 
Dr. Ambedkar and declared that no constitution would be 
acceptable to the Depressed Classes which did not include 
in it the system of Separate Electorates for the Depressed 
Classes. Messages requesting Dr. Ambedkar not to put faith 
in Gandhi and in the Congress were sent to Dr. Ambedkar in 
hundreds by the Depressed Classes leaders and associations 
from all parts of India, and by public meetings and conferences 
held at Tinnevelly, Robertson (Madras), Lyallpur, Karnal, 
Chidambaram, Calicut, Banaras, Kolhapur, Yeotmal, Nagpur, 
Chanda, Kanpur, Kamptee, Belgaum, Dharwar, Nasik, Hubli, 
Ahmedabad, Tuticorin, Colombo and at several other places. 

These vociferous cablegrams demonstrated who was the real 
representative of the Depressed Classes. Gandhi, no doubt received 
a few cables, but they were insufficient to meet the queries 
which Gandhi was pestered with in his talks and discourses at 


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118 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

different places in London. Such was the powerful effect 
of Dr. Ambedkar’s fighting propaganda that Gandhi was 
really nonplussed, and his assumed guardianship of the 
Untouchables lay exposed ! 

This exposure became more pronounced at this juncture 
by the temple entry movement launched by the Depressed 
Classes in India, at Nasik and at Guruvayur. The revival 
of Satyagraha at Nasik gained a tremendous momentum. 
Five thousand volunteers poured in Nasik. Dr. Ambedkar’s 
devoted lieutenant, Bhaurao Gaikwad, Depressed Classes 
leaders like Rankhambe, Patitpavandas and trusted 
lieutenant Deorao Naik, fought out the struggle, exposing 
the Orthodox Hindus and the pretended sincerity of the 
Hindu leaders in their true perspective. The shame was 
so carping that Dr. Moonje appealed from London to the 
Hindus not to deny these civic and religious rights to 
their kith and kin at their own peril. The gates of the 
Kalaram Temple were closed as was done during the 
previous Satyagraha. 

Dr. Ambedkar was happy over this timely support from 
his people in exposing the caste Hindu behaviour. He sent 
a message to his people from London.* 

The Nasik Satyagraha was carried on with unique 
enthusiasm and determination. Mass meetings were held, 
and big procession were taken out. Several volunteers and 
leaders were arrested. They bravely courted imprisonment 
and faced jail. The News in the London Times about these 
arrests and the developments of the Satyagraha added to 
the weight of Dr. Ambedkar’s say. 

After the clash with Gandhi, Dr. Ambedkar took 
part in the discussions on the Fiscal system which 
was adumbrated by the Sub- Committee for the Federal 
Government. He made a very thought-provoking and 
illuminating speech on the composition of the Federal 
Court in which, Jinnahh, Jayakar, Lord Sankey and 


* See Pp 192-193, of this part. 


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Lord Lothian, too, took much interest, and he was asked to 
clarify some of his points. 

In spite of this heavy work, Dr. Ambedkar was very 
busy giving private interviews and explanations, issuing 
statements and counter- statements and making speeches at 
different instiutions in London in support of his stand at 
the Round Table Conference. His speech at the Institution 
of International Affairs proved very effective in demolishing 
Gandhi’s platform. Those who were puzzled by Gandhi’s 
extreme opposition to the demands of the Depressed 
Classes ran to Dr. Ambedkar to seek clarification of his 
stand. Miss Muriel Lester, with whom Gandhi was staying, 
saw Dr. Ambedkar who explained his standpoint to her. 
A common friend of Ambedkar and Gandhi invited both 
the leaders to tea and tried to reconcile them. Ambedkar 
admitted that Gandhi had done work for the uplift of the 
Untouchables in his humanitarian way and was striving to 
abolish Untouchability : but they differed fundamentally on 
the question. 

By the end of October 1931 elections were held in 
Britain and the Tories came into power. As regards the 
defeat of the Labour Government, Dr. Ambedkar said that 
their programme was too scientific to be understood by 
the labourer and average Britisher. In one of his letters 
Dr. Ambedkar said that the Depressed Classes leaders, who 
supported Gandhi, did not understand that Gandhi was 
opposed not only to the Special Electorate but also to the 
Special Representation for the Depressed Classes : otherwise 
the problem would have been solved long before.” 1 

In addition to the first memorandum submitted to 
the Minorities Sub-Committee at the first session of 
the Conference, the supplementary Memorandum dated 
4th November 1931 was submitted Jointly by Dr. B. 
R. Ambedkar and Rao Bahadur R. Shrinivasan. The 
Supplementary Memorandum reads as follows: — Editors. 


1: Keer, Pp. 169-181. 


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120 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

“Supplementary Memorandum on the Claims of the 
Depressed Classes for Special Representation 
By Dr. Bhimrao R. Ambedkar and 
Rao Bahadur R. Srinivasan 

In the Memorandum that was submitted by us last year dealing 
with the question of political safeguards for the protection of the 
Depressed Classes in the Constitution for a self-governing India, 
and which forms Appendix III to the printed volume of Proceedings 
of the Minorities Sub- Committee, we had demanded that Special 
Representation of the Depressed Classes must form one of such 
safeguards. But we did not then define the details of the Special 
Representation we claimed as being necessary for them. The reason 
was that the proceedings of the Minorities Sub-Committee came to 
an end before the question was reached. We now propose to make 
good the omission by this supplementary memorandum so that the 
Minorities Sub-Committee, if it comes to consider the question this 
year, should have the requisite details before it. 

I. Extent of Special Representation 

A. Special Representation in Provincial Legislature — 

(i) In Bengal, Central provinces, Assam, Bihar and Orissa, 
Punjab and the United Provinces, the Depressed Classes 
shall have representation in proportion to their population as 
estimated by the Simon Commission and the India Central 
Committee. 

(ii) In Madras, the Depressed Classes shall have twenty two 
percent representation. 

(iii) In Bombay — 

(a) In the event of Sind continuing to be a part of the Bombay 
Presidency the Depressed Classes shall have sixteen per 
cent representation. 

(b) In the event of Sind being separated from the Bombay 
Presidency the Depressed Classes shall enjoy the same 
degree of representation as the Presidency Muslims, 
both being equal in population. 

B. Special Representation in the Federal Legislature — 

In both Houses of the F ederal Legislature the Depressed Classes 
shall have representation in proportion of their population in India. 


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Reservations 

We have fixed this proportion of representation in the 
Legislatures on the following assumptions: — 

(1) We have assumed that the figures for the population 
of the Depressed Classes given by the Simon Commission 
(Vol. I. P.40) and the Indian Central Committee (Report, P. 
44) will be acceptable as suffciently correct to form a basis 
for distributing seats. 

(2) We have assumed that the Federal Legislature will 
comprise the whole of India, in which case the population of the 
Depressed Classes in Indian States, in Centraly Administered 
Areas, and in Excluded Territories, besides their population in 
Govrnor’s Provinces, will form very properly an additional item 
in calculating the extent of representation of the Depressed 
Classes in the Federal Legislature. 

(3) We have assumed that the administrative area of the 
Provinces of British India will contiune to be what they are 
at present. 

But if these assumptions regarding figures of population 
are challenged as some interested parties threaten to do, 
and if under a new census over which the Depressed Classes 
can have no control, the population of the Depressed Classes 
shows a lower proportion, or if the administrative areas of 
the Provinces are altered, resulting in disturbing the existing 
balance of population, the Depressed Classes reserve their 
right to revise their proportion of representation and even to 
claim weightage. In the same way, if the All-India Federation 
does not come into being, they will be willing to submit to 
readjustment in their proportion of representation calculated 
on that basis in the Federal Legislature. 

II. Method of Representation 

1. The Depressed Classes shall have the right to elect their 
representatives to the Provincial and Central Legislatures 
through Separate Electorates of their voters. 

For their representation in the upper House of the Federal or 
Central Legislature, if it is decided to have indirect election by 


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122 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

members of the Provincial Legislatures, the Depressed Classes 
will agree to abandon their right to Separate Electorates so far 
as their representation to the Upper House is concerned subject 
to this: that in any system of proportional representation 
arrangement shall be made to guarantee to them their quota 
of seats. 

2. Separate Electorates for the Depressed Classes shall 
not be liable to be replaced by a System of Joint Electorates 
and reserved seats, except when the following conditions are 
fulfilled: — 

(a) A referendum of the voters held at the demand of 
majority of their representatives in the Legislatures 
concerned and resulting in an absolute majority of the 
members of the Depressed Classes having the franchise. 

(b) No such referendum shall be resorted to until after 
twenty years and until universal adult suffrage has 
been established. 

III. Necessity of Defining the Depressed Classes 

The representation of the Depressed Classes has been 
grossly abused in the past inasmuch as persons other than 
the Depressed Classes were nominated to represent them 
in the Provincial Legislatures, and cases are not wanting in 
which persons not belonging to the Depressed Classes got 
themselves nominated as representative of the Depressed 
Classes. This abuse was due to the fact that while the 
Governor was given the power to nominate persons to represent 
the Depressed Classes, he was not required to confine his 
nomination to persons belonging to the Depressed Classes, 
since nomination is to be substituted by election under the 
new constitution, there will be no room for this abuse. But in 
order to leave no loophole for defeating the purpose of their 
Special Representation we claim — 

(i) That the Depressed Classes shall not only have the 
right to their own Separate Electorates, but they shall also 
have the right to be represented by their own men. 

(ii) That in each Province the Depresed Classes shall be 
strictly defined as meaning persons belonging to communities 
which are subjected to the system of Untouchability of the sort 


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ROLE OF INDIAN DEMOCRACY 123 

prevalent therein and which are enumerated by name in a 
schedule prepared for electoral purposes. 

IV. Nomenclature 

In dealing with this part of the question we would like 
to point out that the existing nomenclature of Depressed 
Classes is objected to by members of the Depressed Classes 
who have given thought to it and also by outsiders who take 
interest in them. It is degrading and contemptuous, and 
advantage may be taken of this occasion for drafting the 
new constitution to alter for official purposes the existing 
nomenclature. We think that they should be called “Non-Caste 
Hindus”, “Protestant Hindus”, or “Non-Conformist Hindus” or 
some such designation, instead of “Depressed Classes”. We 
have no authority to press for any particular nomenclature. 
We can only suggest them, and we believe that if properly 
explained the Depressed Classes will not hesitate to accept 
the one most suitable for them. 

We have received a large number of telegrams from the 
Depressed Classes all over India supporting the demands 
contained in this Memorandum.”* 

“While the session was going on, His Majesty the King- 
Emperor gave a reception to the Indian Delegates on November 
5. It was arranged that a few Members should speak at the 
party. Gandhi was present bareheaded. He was clad in his 
customary loin-cloth and wore sandals. The king-Emperor 
asked Dr. Ambedkar about the condition of the Untouchables 
in India, and when he heard the harrowing tales from 
Dr. Ambedkar who narrated them with his flowing heart, 
eloquent eyes and scintillating face, he shuddered. The king- 
Emperor then inquired of Dr. Ambedkar cordially about 
his father and the place of his education, and how he had 
achieved academic eminence.” * 1 

* : For previous memorandum see. Appendix to Proceedings of the 
Minorities Sub-Committee of the First Session of the Conference. This 
Supplementary Memorandum dated 4th November 1931 is printed as 
Appendix VII in the original proceedings at Pp. 1409-11. 

1 : Keer, p. 181. 


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124 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

“When the British Premier saw that there was no unanimous 
solution to the Minorities problem, he asked all the Members 
of the Minorities Committee to sign a requisition authorising 
him to settle the communal problem and to pledge themselves 
to accept his decision. Gandhi singned this pledge alongwith 
other Members. Dr. Ambedkar did not sign this requisition as 
he believed in the justice of his demands. The Prime Minister 
then adjourned the Conference on December 1. Just before 
this requisition Dr. Ambedkar had a talk with Gandhi at 
the residence of Sir Mirza Ismail. Gandhi suggested a novel 
method to win the support of Dr. Ambedkar. He said that 
if the Untouchable candidates failed in the general election 
held on the basis of joint electorates without reservation of 
seats, the Depressed Classes should prove their bona fides 
in a Court of Law.” 1 

After the adjournment of the 2nd Round Table Conference, 
various Comments were made by the d iff erent people and the 
press. The Comments are as follows : 

“Mr. T. A. Raman a well known Journalist from India 
was travelling back to India. One of the fellow passenger told 
Mr. T. A. Raman that if he even murdered anybody it would 
be Dr. Ambedkar” 2 ‘Subodha Patrika’ weekly in its issue dated 
15th November 1931 said : 

“We fail to understand Mahatma Gandhi’s stand with 
respect to the demands of the Depressed Classes. To say the 
least, it is unreasonable and extremely irritating. If there is 
any community that needs the fullest protection it is that of 
the Untouchable classes. The Muslims and the Sikhs are well 
protected and ‘Their avowed fears as a contemporary puts 
it’ are but a mask for winning a privileged position in the 
commonwealth. Now we ask, is it right for Mahatmaji to yield 
to the false claims of the stronger communities and turn down 
the Untouchable ? It is no use quibbling ; if Mahatma Gandhi’s 
attempts to solve the communal problem have been futile so 
far, he is to blame also. Unpalatable though Dr. Ambedkar’s 
outbursts may be, they are intelligible, if not well-grounded. It 
is no use taking shelter behind the so-called Congress mandate 
which is to all practical purposes, as elastic as Gandhiji 
would like to have it. We feel that the Congress has been 


1 : Keer, Pp. 190-191. 

2 : Ibid. P. 183. 


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ROLE OF INDIAN DEMOCRACY 125 

tinkering with the removal of Untouchability, Why, otherwise, 
we ask that the Nehru Committee was not made to include 
as much as a representative of the Depressed Classes ?” 

“If any firm decision on the problem of minorities is going 
to take time and therefore freedom is also being delayed, then 
initially provincial autonomy would be acceptable. This was 
how Gandhiji without consultation of his friends conveyed his 
acceptance to the British Prime Minister. The disclosure of this 
private conversation raised a storm among Indian delegates. 
Dr. Sapru, Jaykar representing Progressive Hindus and 
Dr. Munje, Malviya etc. representnting Hindu Mahasabha were 
also terror- striken. They tried to verify Gandhiji’s statements. 
Induial Yagnik, who was a Brahmin and had long association 
with Gandhiji, had gone to London as special reporter of 
Sunday Advocate’. He wrote in the ‘Sunday Advocate’ dated 
6th December 1931 thus : 

‘Gandhi Accepts provincial Autonomy. But I venture to state 
that Gandhi has already delivered himself bound hand and foot 
into the kindly arms of the British rulers. I referred somewhat 
casually last week to Gandhi’s secret pact with Lord Lothian 
to agree to provincial autonomy as a first instalment of the 
new scheme of self-government for India. Of course, Gandhi 
had shrewdly hedged this agreement with the condition that 
representative of the self-governing Provinces and States should 
eventually be invited to form a Constituent Assembly which 
would be authorised to draft the new Federal Constitution for 
India. I understand that Government naturally did not agree to 
this condition. But they shrewdly seized on this agreement of 
Gandhis’, and gave it as wide a currency as possible of course, 
in an unofficial manner. Of course moderate politicians like 
Tej Bahadur Sapru and Mr. Jaykar were awfully enraged on 
hearing of these conversations and engaged in a very hot tussle 
with Gandhi. Mr. Jaykar, I am told, was particularly wild with 
the Congress plenipotentiary, and Gandhi is reported to have 
hotly replied that he was quite free to do what he liked, and 
he was perfectly sure of getting the Congress to agree to what 
ever he pleased. When the matter leaked out, however into the 
press, Gandhi naturally did his best to wriggle out of this secret 
understanding as Government had of course not agreed to the 
condition which formed an integral part of his agreement. But if 
you read between the lines of the special interview that Gandhi 


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126 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

gave to the News Chronicle on this subject, you would be quite 
convinced that Gandhi, while expressing his desire for the 
immediate establishment of ‘independence’ — which amounts 
of course to partnership with Britain and the maintenance of 
the imperialistic link with India, he practically gives himself 
away by admitting-though more by implication than explicity 
in so many words-the substantial difficulties in the immediate 
inauguration of a Federal Constitution in India.” 1 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar left London, and embarking at Marseilles, 
on January 15, 1932, reached Bombay on January 29. 

“Dr. B. R. Ambedkar has prepared a set of answers to the 
questionnaire issued by the Franchise Committee and copies 
of the same are being circulated among various individual 
members and mushroom associations of the Depressed 
Classes community. Space has been left at the beginning of 
every paragraph to fill up the blanks with the names of the 
Association, or individuals. 

Stereotyped Replies 

The hundreds of the Stereotyped replies to the questionnaire 
circulated repeat. 

“The (the blank space is to be filled up by 

the name of the Association) is of opinion that the Depressed 
Classes cannot secure representation in the general electorates. 
Much less can they secure representatives of their own choice. 
Even if there was adult suffrage. The reasons are as follows : — 

“(a) In every territorial constituency the Depressed 
Classes are in minority of the population and will be a 
minority of voters in the electorate much too small to 
win a seat for themselves.” 

“(b) Owing to social prejudices no voter of the Higher 
Caste will vote for the Depressed Classes candidates.” 

“(c) On the other hand owing to economic dependence 
on the higher castes and the religious and social 
influence of the Higher Classes voters may be led to 
vote for a high caste 


1 : Ganvir, Ambedkar Gandhi : Teen Mulakhati, Pp. 22-23. 


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candidates as against a candidate of his own Class. No 

Depressed Class man has ever been elected to the Council, 

on the support of High Castes.” 1 

“Dr. Ambedkar immediately left for Delhi to take part in 
the proceedings of the Franchise Committee headed by Lord 
Lothian. On his way to Delhi, he was enthusiastically received 
at every station by the Depressed classes; especially the 
functions held at Nasik, Igatpuri, Deolali, Manmad, Bhusaval 
and Jhansi stations were colourful and imposing. 

In the early days of February the Franchise Committee 
visited Bihar. The Depressed Classes greeted Dr. Ambedkar 
with great enthusiasm at every place. The Committee then 
moved to Calcutta via Patna. Depressed Class leaders of 
his persuasion, while giving evidence before the Franchise 
Committee, supported the scheme of separate electorates 
as they feared that in the System of Joint Electorates with 
reserved seats the candidates of the Depressed Classes would 
be at the mercy of the majority of electorates, and in order to 
win their votes they would have to ponder to their prejudices, 
or there would be every possibility of the seats being occupied 
by the stooges of the majority community. It was observed 
by many leaders of the Depressed Classes that if the Joint 
Electorates were to work successfully, that pre-supposed 
broad-mindedness on the part of the majority community. It 
was their view that such a favourable atmosphere did not 
exist then.” 2 

“Letter to Mr. Gavai 

In the mean time, in this regard Dr. B. R. Ambedkar wrote 
a letter to Mr. G. A. Gavai, M.L.C.. General Secretary, All- 
India Depressed Classes Association. The letter is as follow — 

Patna, February 13 

I was expecting you at Lucknow and also at Patna and 
was wondering why you had not turned up at either of these 
places till I got your letter. I am sorry to read that your illness 
preventing you from making the trip. 

1 : The Bombay Chronicle, 23rd February 1932. 

2 : Keer, Pp. 194-195. 


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128 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

I am sending you a copy of the Memorandum containing 
my views which I am sending you for your information. You 
will notice from the last paragraph in the Memorandum that 
our Committee ‘cannot’ and therefore your Committee ‘cannot’ 
discuss the communal question. The Prime Minister’s letter 
and the Questionnaire issued by the Committee makes this 
clear and Chairman of our Committee has given a ruling on 
this question both at Delhi and Lucknow which is in accord 
with this view. Therefore you must tell your ‘Committee’ 
that they cannot discuss this question and if they insist, you 
should refuse to discuss it.” 

“Change of Views 

Your separate minute instead discussing Separate Vs. Joint 
Electorates should simply say that you refuse to discuss it 
because it is outside the terms of the Committee. I know your 
Association has got a Questionnaire. There is just one thing 
I must point out. I was shocked to find that Mr. Rajah has 
changed his opinion and is now advocating Joint Electorates. I 
hope your Association will not follow him in this policy which 
is suicidal in every way. But if it does then you must lake the 
consequences of a permanent breach between us and a war 
‘amongst’ ourselves which I am trying to avoid at any cost. 
So don’t persist in it. I am glad to have the assurance that 
you won’t do anything without my knowledge and consent. I 
have written out a detailed set of answers to the Franchise 
Questionnaire. I will send you a copy as soon as they are typed. 

I am sending a statement of my answers to the 
Questionnaire for your use and also a copy of the revised 
Questionnaire. You will see that the Communal question is 
altogether eliminated.” 1 

“Now another trouble brewed for Dr. Ambedkar. Dr. Moonje 
made a pact with M. C. Rajah on the basis of reserved seats 
and joint electorates. Rajah submitted to the British Premier 
his memorandum telegraphically giving details of his pact 
with Dr. Moonje. This pact put Dr. Ambedkar in an awkward 
position. It may be recalled that it was Rajah who had cabled to 


1 : The Bombay Chronicle, dated 7th April 1932. 


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Dr. Ambedkar and supported his demand for Separate 
Electorates, saying that Gandhi evidently did not know their 
woes, and therefore he had tried to force Joint Electorates down 
the unwilling throats of the Depressed Classes. Originally, the 
Rajah Party stood for Joint Electorates with reserved seats. 
But he changed sides. Rajah was the only Depressed Class 
Member in the Central Assembly, and he was not invited to 
the Round Table Conference. Perhaps grieved at this omission 
from the Round Table Conference, or greatly perturbed by 
Gandhi’s professed claim to represent the Depressed Classes, 
he had dropped the idea of Joint Electorates and insisted on 
Separate Electorates. And now he reverted to the original 
demand.” 1 


“Misleading Information 

Mr. Gavai has taken an early opportunity to issue the 
following statement to members of Depressed Classes. Certain 
misleading information is being circulated to you that the 
Indian Franchise Committee cannot discuss the question of 
the system of electorates with individuals or associations that 
submit memoranda to it on behalf of the Depressed Classes. 
This is very misleading. For in the questionnaire sent by 
the Committee under the item representation of Depressed 
Classes in paper 2, it is clearly stated what specific proposals 
would one make to secure representation of the community 
in the legislature. 


Those Model Answers 

Moreover, I would suggest that our associations would 
be well advised to send in their own views with reference to 
their own provinces irrespective of model answers prepared 
by others. In view of coming changes in the Constitution of 
India as declared by the Prime Minister on 1st of December 
1931 that complete provincial autonomy will be given to 
provinces. It is very necessary that our community, should 
also keep pace with the times and so we should reconsider 
the decision which we had arrived at before the statement of 
the Prime Minister referred to above.” 2 


1 : Keer, Pp. 195-196. 

2 : The Bombay Chronicle, dated 27th February 1932. 


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130 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

“The Franchise Committee met at the Viceregal Lodge. 
Dr. Ambedkar, on behalf of the Depressed Classes, pleaded for 
the incorporation in the Indian Penal Code or in the future 
constitution, of a punishment for the instigation or promotion 
of boycott against the Depressed Classes which prevented 
them from the free enjoyment of the fundamental rights. The 
Franchise Committee accepted the suggestion. 

When the news of the Rajah-Moonje pact was out, the 
Bengal and Assam Depressed Class leaders denounced 
Rajah for his swing to the System of Joint Electorates with 
reserved seats, and supported the demands put forth by 
Dr. Ambedkar. M. B. Malik, M.L.A., President, Bengal 
Depressed Class Association ; the President, U.P. Adi-Hindu 
Association ; the President, All-Assam Depressed Class 
Association ; the President, Adi-Dharma Mandal, Punjab ; the 
President, Depressed Class Aid Society, Delhi ; all denounced 
Rajah and endorsed the demands put forth by Dr. Ambedkar. 

It was in April 1932 that the Nasik Satyagraha entered its 
third stage, and its leaders Bhaurao Gaikwad and Rankharnbe 
were arrested. News about their arrest was wired to Dr. 
Ambedkar the same day, i.e. the April 14, 1932. The extreme 
opposition of Chintamani, Bakhale and Tambe, the Hindu 
Members of the Franchise Committee, to the demand of the 
Depressed Classes for Separate Electorates had created bad 
blood between them and Dr. Ambedkar. They were not even 
on speaking terms with Dr. Ambedkar. Amid such tense 
atmosphere Dr. Ambedkar informed his secretary that he was 
sorry he could not deal with two situations at the same time. 
He was of the opinion that the problem of political rights 
was more important than the problem of temple entry ; and 
therefore it was unwise and dangerous to deviate from that 
work to which he had devoted himself heart and soul. 

In a letter written from Simla, Dr. Ambedkar said 
that it was very imperative to see the British Premier in 
London before the latter gave his decision on the communal 
issue. He, therefore, asked his trusted lieutenants to see 
whether it was possible to collect money for the proposed 
voyage without disclosing the reasons. He had also written 
to the Aga Khan, who was then in London, seeking his 


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advice in the matter and asking him about the possibility and 
possible date of the Premier’s decision on the communal issue. 
In another letter written during the same week, Dr. Ambedkar 
poured his disgust upon the Hindu Members of the Franchise 
Committee and said that he hated their frame of mind which 
allowed them to be self-centred and aggressive inside their 
own camp and cowardly and yielding outside. He wrote that 
he was utterly disgusted with their selfish and thoughtless 
attitude and that he would try to keep himself away from 
Hindu Society. He was working under mental and physical 
pressure. In addition, he was suffering from diarrhoea. 

In April the Bengal Namashudra Association held its 14th 
Annual Session at the Albert Institute Hall, Calcutta, under 
the presidentship of Dr. Kalicharan Mandal. The session 
unanimously endorsed Dr. Ambedkar’s demands. Denouced the 
newspapers which unjustly criticized Dr. Ambedkar’s stand, 
and declared that the Congress attitude to their problem was 
unsympathetic and impractical. 

The Franchise Committee finished its business on May 
1,1932; but, as lord Lothian desired to have some discussion 
with him on some vital points, Dr. Ambedkar stayed for 
a day or two more. The Franchise Committee drafted its 
report giving detailed proposals on which to face the revision 
of Franchise, and distribution and demarcation of the 
constituencies for the new legislatures, Central and Provincial. 
As Dr. Ambedkar differed from the Hindu Members of the 
Comittee, he submitted to the Committee a separate note. One 
of the most important decisions of the Committee was on the 
exact definition of the term Depressed Classes. The Indian 
Legislature Committee in its decision in 1916, Sir Henry Sharp, 
the Educational Commissioner under the Government of India, 
and the Southborough Franchise Committee had all grouped 
the Depressed Classes with the aboriginals or Hill Tribes, 
Criminals or with others, but now the Lothian Franchise 
Committee said that they were of the opinion that the term 
should be applied only to those who were Untouchables. This 
was clearly Dr. Ambedkar’s victory as he had insisted in his 
note to the Committee that the test of Untouchability “must 
be applied in its notional sense as Untouchability in its literal 
sense has ceased to obtain.” 1 


1 : Keer Pp. 196-198 


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132 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

On May 26 Dr. Ambedkar left for England to see the 
British Prime Minister and other Cabinet Ministers before the 
decision on the communal issue was announced. He left by the 
Italian steamer, ss. Conte Roso. The news about his departure 
was kept a closely guarded secret as he had enjoined upon 
his men not to divulge it to anybody. Still a representative 
of the Bombay Chronicle screwed it out of some source 
and cast a revealing light upon Dr. Ambedkar’s new move. 
Dr. Ambedkar travelled first class, carried very little luggage, 
and expected to return by the end of August 1932. 

It was true that the sudden change in Rajah’s attitude 
worried Dr. Ambedkar much, and the Lothian Committee’s 
findings also were not much favourable to him. He thought 
that this was the moment which came once in an age. He 
therefore resolved to do his utmost and to stake his all. He 
was confident that his presence in London would add weight 
to his demands. In the letters written home, on his way to 
London, he expressed poignant anxiety for the safety of his 
press which, he feared, the thoughtless Caste Hindus from the 
Congress camp might burn down. He instructed Shivtarkar to 
procure a new room and to remove the boxes of new books or 
to keep them in safety elsewhere. All the while the thought 
of the safety of his books haunted his mind. Dr. Ambedkar 
reached London on June 7, 1932. In a week he saw every big 
British official and all Cabinet Ministers in connection with 
his mission and pleaded his case with heart and soul. He 
presented to the British Cabinet a representation consisting 
of twenty-two typed pages. But he could not say anything just 
then about the outcome of his efforts. He said that discussions 
were held and decisions were taken at a very high level; and 
it was in the air that the Depressed Classes in the Provinces 
of Bombay, Madras and C.P would get Separate Electorates. 
By June 14 he had done everything possible to achieve his 
end and wanted to return. But, as some of his supporters 
wished him to prolong his stay, he decided to stay for a month 
more for convalescing in a German Sanatorium conducted by 
Dr. Moller at Dresden, so that he could run to London if 
necessary. Dr. Ambedkar was in need of money. The indefinite 
period of his stay was causing him worry in matters of 
health and expense. So he asked Shivtarkar to make some 
arrangements for a remittance, if possible. 


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By the middle of July, Dr. Ambedkar recovered his health, 
left Dresden, and stayed for a week in Berlin which was then 
witnessing the energence of Hitler. From Berlin he wrote 
that he would travel to Vienna and catch the steamer Gange 
at Venice. But this time, he said, he should not be worried 
with the formalities of a reception and welcome. Such is 
human nature. One pines for what one has not got. When 
Dr. Ambedkar left for foreign lands, during his student days, 
no one took note of his departure and arrival. But since 
the days of the Round Table Conference his departure and 
arrival had been made the occasions for public send-offs and 
receptions by thousands of his devotees as well as by pressmen. 
Dr. Ambedkar arrived in Bombay on August 17.” 1 

“On the 17th August 1932 the dicision of the British 
Prime Minister on the communal question, was announced. 
That part of the decision which relates to the Untouchables 
is produced below : — 

Communal Decision by His Majesty’s Government 1932. 

In the statement made by the Prime Minister on 1st 
December last on behalf of His Majesty’s Government at the 
close of the second session of the Round Table Conference, 
which was immediately afterwards endorsed by both Houses 
of Parliament, it was made plain that if the communities 
in India were unable to reach a settlement acceptable to all 
parties on the communal questions which the Conference had 
failed to solve, His Majesty’s Government were determined 
that India’s contitutional advance should not on that account 
be frustrated, and that they would remove this obstacle by 
devising and applying themselves a provisional scheme. 

2. On the 19th March last His Majesty’s Government, 
having been informed that the continued failure of the 
communities to reach agreement was blocking the progress 
of the plans for the framing of a new Constitution, stated 
that they were engaged upon a careful re-examination of the 
difficult and controversial questions which arise. They are now 
satisfied that without a decision of at least some aspects of 
the problems connected with the position of minorities under 
the new Constitution, no further progress can be made with 
the framing of the Constitution. 


1 : Keer Pp. 202-204. 


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134 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

3. His Majesty’s Government have accordingly decided that 
they will include provisions to give effect to the scheme set 
out below in the proposals relating to the Indian Constitution 
to be laid in due course before Parliament. The scope of this 
scheme is purposely confined to the arrangements to be made 
for the representation of the British Indian communities in 
the Provincial Legislatures, consideration of representation in 
the Legislature at the Centre being deferred for the reason 
given in paragraph 20 below. The decision to limit the scope 
of the scheme implies no failure to realize that the framing 
of the Constitution will necessitate the decision of a number 
of other problems of great importance to minorities, but has 
been taken in the hope that once a pronouncement has been 
made upon the basic questions of method and proportions of 
representation the communities themselves may find it possible 
to arrive at modus vivendi on other communal problems, which 
have not received the examination they require. 

4. His Majesty’s Government wish it to be most clearly 
understood that they themselves can be no parties to any 
negotiations which may be initiated with a view to the revision 
of their decision, and will not be prepared to give consideration 
to any representation aimed at securing the modification of it 
which is not supported by all the parties affected. But they 
are most desirous to close no door to an agreed settlement 
should such happily be forthcoming. If, therefore, before a 
new Government of India Act has passed into law, they are 
satisfied that the communities who are concerned are mutually 
agreed upon a practicable alternative scheme, either in respect 
of any one or more of the Governors’ Provinces or in respect 
of the whole of the British India, they will be prepared to 
recommend to Parliament that the alternative should be 
substituted for the provisions now outlined. 

5. Members of the “Depressed Classes” qualified to vote will 
vote in a general constituency. In view of the fact that for a 
considerable period these classes would be unlikely, by this means 
alone, to secure any adequate representation in the Legislature, 
a number of special seats will be assigned to them as shown 
in the table. These seats will be filled by election from special 


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constituencies in which only members of the “Depressed Classes” 
electorally qualified will be entitled to vote. Any person voting 
in such a special constituency will, as stated above, be also 
entitled to vote in a general constituency. It is intended that 
these constituencies should be formed in selected areas where 
the Depressed Classes are most numerous, and that, except in 
Madras, they should not cover the whole area of the Province. 

In Bengal it seems possible that in some general constituencies 
a majority of the voters will belong to the Depressed Classes. 
Accordingly, pending further investigation, no number has been 
fixed for the members to be returned from the Special Depressed 
Class Constituencies in that Province. It is intended to secure 
that the Depressed Classes should obtain not less than 10 seats 
in the Bengal Legislature. 

The precise definition in each Province of those who (if 
electorally qualified) will be entitled to vote in the Special 
Depressed Class Constituencies has not yet been finally 
determined. It will be based as a rule on the general principles 
advocated in the Franchise Committee’s Report. Modification 
may, however, be found necessary in some Provinces in 
Northern India where the application of the general criteria of 
Untouchability might result in a definition unsuitable in some 
respects to the special conditions of the Province. 

His Majesty’s Government do not consider that these Special 
Depressed Classes Constituencies will be required for more than 
limited time. They intend that the Constitution shall provide 
that they shall come to an end after 20 years if they have not 
previously been abolished under the general powers of electoral 
revision referred to in paragraph 6.” 1 

“According to this Award, the Depressed Classes were 
granted separate seats in the Provincial Assemblies and the 
right of double vote under which they were to elect their own 
representatives and to vote also in the general constituencies. 

The next day, after his arrival, Dr. Ambedkar wrote a very 
important letter to Sir Samuel Hoare asking him to clear the 
meaning of the last part of the paragraph nine of the Award as 
there was some doubt about it among some of the members of the 
Depressed Classes. He further wrote that it was impossible for 
him to make the Depressed Classes accept the Award with the 


1 : Writings and Speeches Vol. 9, Pp. 79-82. 


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136 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

proviso attached to it, and concluded his letter by saying 
that “pending the arrival of your reply I will try to hold the 
storm of indignation that is bursting over my head from the 
Depressed Classes from all parts of India from bursting in 
public.” 1 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar has issued the following statement 
from Bombay, on Tuesday the 23rd August 1932, on the 
Communal Award : — 

“No one expected the Communal Award to be everything 
to everybody and I myself was prepared for some variations 
in the proposals made by me and my Colleague Rao Bahadur 
Srinivasan at the Round Table Conference on behalf of the 
Depressed Classes. But the Communal Award has ruthlessly 
scaled down their representation in the Provincial Legislatures 
to quite insignificant proportions. The result is that the 
Communal Award creates positive grievances by refusing to 
them adequate representation. 

“1 see no justification for this enormity. What has, however, 
shocked me most is the denial of the right to representation 
to the Depressed Classes of the Punjab. Knowing as I do the 
conditions of the Depressed Classes in that Province, I have 
no hesitation in saying that comparatively speaking their 
social condition is really worse than that of their fellows in 
other Provinces of Northern India. Their case for Special 
Representation was the strongest. 

“What reasons His Majesty’s Government had for depriving 
this most deserving class of their seat, I am unable to see 
unless it be to satisfy the claims of the most turbulent and 
vociferous sections in that Province. This injustice becomes 
most flagrant when it is realized that the Indian Christians 
and the Anglo-Indians without a tithe of the population of the 
Depressed Classes and without any shadow of social grievances 
have been provided for with special seats two for the former 
and one for the latter. These injustices I fear will make the 
All-India Depressed Classes Federation which is to consider 
the question averse to the acceptance of the award.” 2 


1 : Keer, P.204. 

2 : The Free Press Journal, dated 24th August 1932. 


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Back to India Gandhi was arrested on January 4. Gandhi 
had not given up his fight for tying the Untouchable Hindus to 
the caste Hindus in politics. In early March, he informed the 
British Cabinet from Yeravda Jail that he would resist with 
his life the separation of the Untouchable Hindus from the 
Caste Hindus. And when the Communal Award was declared, 
granting Separate Electorates to the Untouchables, he declared 
his resolve to fast unto death if the separate electorates for 
the Depressed Classes were not abolished. Yet on principle, 
he had no word to say against Separate Electorates being 
conceded to the Christians, Muslims and Sikhs. 

On one more count Gandhi’s resort to a fast unto death 
against the grant of Separate Electorates to the Depressed 
Classes was not justifiable either.” 1 

In this regard, Dr. Ambedkar said, 

“Mr. Gandhi found that his threat had failed to have 
any effect. He did not care that he was a signatory to the 
requisition asking the Prime Minister to arbitrate. He forgot 
that as a signatory he was bound to accept the award. He 
started to undo what the Prime Minister had done. He first 
tried to get the terms of the Communal Award revised. 
Accordingly, he addressed the following letter to the Prime 
Minister: — 

Yeravda Central Prison, 
August 18,1932. 

Dear Friend, 

“There can be no doubt that Sir Samuel Hoare has showed 
you and the Cabinet my letter to him of 11th March on the 
question of the representation of the Depressed Classes. That 
letter should be treated as part of this letter and be read 
together with this. 

“I have read the British Government’s decision 
on the representation of minorities and have slept 
over it. In pursuance of my letter to Sir Samuel 
Hoare and my declaration at the meeting of the 
Minorities Committee of the Round Table Conference on 


1 : Keer, Pp. 204-05 


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138 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

13th November, 1931, at St. James’ Palace, I have to resist your 
decision with my life. The only way I can do so is by declaring 
a perpetual fast unto death from food of any kind save water 
with or without salt and soda. This fast will cease if during its 
progress the British Government, of its own motion or under 
pressure of public opinion, revise their decision and withdraw 
their scheme of communal electorates for the Depressed Classes, 
whose representatives should be elected by the general electorate 
under the common franchise, no matter how wide it is. 

“The proposed fast will come into operation in the ordinary 
course from the noon of 20th September next, unless the said 
decision is meanwhile revised in the manner suggested above. 

“I am asking the authorities here to cable the text of this 
letter to you so as to give you ample notice. But in any case, I 
am leaving sufficient time for this letter to reach you in time by 
the slowest route. 

“I also ask that this letter and my letter to Sir Samuel Hoare 
already referred to be published at the earliest possible moment. 
On my part, I have scrupulously observed the rule of the jail and 
have communicated my desire or the contents of the two letters to 
no one, save my two companions, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and 
Mr. Mahadev Desai. But I want, if you make it possible, public 
opinion to be affected by my letters. Hence my request for their 
early publication. 

“I regret the decision I have taken. But as a man of religion 
that I hold myself to be, I have no other course left open to me. 
As I have said in my letter to Sir Samuel Hoare, even if His 
Majesty’s Government decided to release me in order to save 
themselves from embarrassment, my fast will have to continue. 
For, I cannot now hope to resist the decision by any other means ; 
and I have no desire whatsoever to compass my release by any 
means other than honourable. 

“It may be that my judgment is warped and that I am wholly in 
error in regarding Separate Electorates for the Depressed Classes 
as harmful to them or to Hinduism. If so, I am not likely to be in the 
right with reference to other parts of my philosophy of life. In that 
case, my death by fasting will be at once a penance for my error 
and a lifting of a weight from off these numberless men and women 
who have childlike faith in my wisdom. Whereas if my judgment 
is right, as I have little doubt it is, the contemplated step is but 
due to the fulfilment of the scheme of life which I have tried for 


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more than a quarter of a century, apparently not without 
considerable success. 

I remain, 

your faithful friend, 
M. K. Gandhi.” 1 

This proves the contradiction of Mahatma Gandhi with regard 
to question of Depressed Classes. 

Meanwhile Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel met Gandhiji in Yerwada 
Jail on September 6,1932 and discussed the issue with him.* 

“As was natural, Gandhi’s announcement threw the country 
into a state of consternation. Public appeals were made to Gandhi 
and the Government, statements were issued to the Press, and 
prayers were offered. Leaders like Dr. Rajendra Prasad said that 
Hinduism was on its trial. There was confusion and nervous strain 
in all Hindu circles ; not because the caste Hindus and their 
leaders felt ashamed of their cruelty to the Depressed Classes, 
but because the life of their political hero, their political liberator, 
was at stake. The traditional tragic trend in the character of the 
Hindus got the upper hand and they got panicky. 

Pandit Malaviya declared from Simla his intention to hold 
a conference of Hindu leaders in Bombay on September 19 to 
resolve the deadlock and save the life of the Mahatma, and 
informed Dr. Ambedkar about it by wire. For to save the life 
of the Mahatma it was necessary to alter the British Premier’s 
Award, and to amend it, it was necessary to get the approval of 
Dr. Ambedkar who had wrested these privileges for the Depressed 
Classes. Naturally, all eyes turned to Dr. Ambedkar as a man of 
the moment. It was a cruel irony of fate that the leaders and the 
Press that had refused to recognise Dr. Ambedkar as the leader 
of the Depressed Classes were now compelled to recognise his 
leadership of and spokesmanship for the Depressed Classes. He 
now became the cynosure of the whole country. 

Dr. Ambedkar knew the significance and magnitude of the 
crisis arisen out of Gandhi’s fast unto death. Gandhi had hurled 
a most dangerous and fatal weapon at him. He prepared himself 
for repelling the weapon. He had an interview with the Governor 
of Bombay in Poona.” 2 

The hurried departure of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, the champion of 
Separate Electorates, from Bombay to Poona on Sunday morning 
to interview the Governor of Bombay, on the eve of the Conference 

1 Writings and Speeches, Vol. 9, Pp. 82-83. 

2 Keer, Pp. 205-206. 

* See appendix-IV 


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140 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

convened in Bombay today to persuade the representative of the 
“Depressed Classes” to give up the scheme of Separate Electorates 
and save Mahatma Gandhi’s life has caused considerable 
speculation in the city. 

The Doctor left for Poona in the morning and after a long 
conversation with the Governor of Bombay returned to Bombay 
in the evening. 

“Will you attend tomorrow’s Conference ?” asked our 
representative. 

To this question Dr. Ambedkar stated that beyond the 
telegraphic communication that he had received from Pandit 
Malaviya he had received no formal invitation for the Conference 
up to now but if he received an invitation he would by all means 
attend the Conference. 

In a statement, issued in the evening Sunday the 11th 
September 1932, Dr. Ambedkar reiterates his conviction that 
Separate Electorates are in the interests of “Depressed Classes” 
and repeats that Mahatma Gandhi must first put forward his 
proposals to enable the Doctor then to play his own cards.” 1 

“I do not care these political stunts.” declared Dr. B. R. 
Ambedkar. 

“This threat of Mr. Gandhi.” he continued, “to starve himself 
to death is not a moral fight but only a political move. I can 
understand a person trying to negotiate with his political opponent 
on equal terms by giving him credit for honesty, but I will never 
be moved by these methods.” 

“My decision stands and if Mr. Gandhi wants to fight with 
his life for the interests of the Hindu Community the Depressed 
Classes also will be forced to fight with their lives to safeguard 
their interests. 

In reference to the view expressed by Mr. M. C. Rajah, that 
if Dr. Ambedkar would agree to give up his demand for Separate 
Electorates and accepted Joint Electorates with reservation of 
seats the situation could be saved. Dr. Ambedkar said that he 
would not agree to it.” 2 

Mr. Gandhi wrote a letter addressed to the Government of Bombay 
on 15th September 1932 showing the reasons as to why he had 

1 : The Bombay Chronicle dated 11th September 1932. (Issue may be of 
12th September 1932. — Editors.) 

2 : The Bombay Chronicle, dated 14th September 1932. 


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taken the decision to go on a fast unto death. The said letter 
was sent to the press for publication on 21st March 1932. In 
the said letter he said; 

“My fast has a narrow application. The Depressed Classes 
question being predominently a religious matter, I regard it 
as specially my own by reason of life-long concentration on 
it. It is a sacred personal trust which I may not shirk.” 1 

In this regard Dr. Ambedkar, clarifying his position, wrote 
a letter to The Times of India, the letter is as follows — 

To the Editor of “The Times of India”, 

Sir, 

I am surprised to read in to-day’s newspaper that some 
eight public meetings are to be held under the auspices of the 
Emergency Committee in different parts of the City to pass a 
resolution asking the public to compel the British Government 
to change their policy regarding the Communal Award in so 
far as it affects the Depressed Classes. The obvious object 
of this resolution is to mobilise public opinion against the 
special arrangement provided in the Premier’s Award for the 
representation of the D. C. 

Since Mahatma Gandhi declared his resolve of self- 
immolation over this question, negotiations have been going 
on between some prominent Hindu leaders and myself, I was 
invited to attend a meeting of the Emergency Committee 
yesterday evening which I did. During the time I was at the 
meeting no reference was made to any such programme or 
any such resolution having been contemplated to be placed 
at public meeting. Had the draft resolution been brought 
to my notice at yesterday’s meeting, I would have certainly 
objected not only to the wording of the resolution but also 
to the very idea of holding any public meetings pending the 
outcome of the negotiations that are proceeding. In fact, it 
was understood that no propaganda of any kind was to be 
carried on by either party. This consideration prevented me 
from holding meetings or starting propaganda in favour of 
the Communal Award, in spite of a lot of pressure from the 
members of my party. 


1 : Khairmode, Vol.5, P. 26 


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142 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

These public meetings which the Emergency Committee 
proposes to hold and the resolution to be moved, but a 
provocative challenge to me and to my party. Those who 
have been carrying on negotiations with me cannot carry on 
their propaganda against me and at the same time hope for 
an amicable settlement as the result of the negotiations. It 
must be either negotiations or straight fight. Both cannot go 
together. If the other party insists on their right to carry on 
propaganda, they will have no right to blame me if my party 
also decided to carry on propaganda against them. 

B.R. Ambedkar. 

Bombay, September 18, 1932.” 1 

“On the eve of the Conference of the Hindu leaders, Dr. 
Ambedkar issued a statement to the Press in which he said : 
“So far as I am concerned, I am willing to consider everything, 
though I am not willing to allow the rights of the Depressed 
Classes to be curtailed in any way. It is no use holding a 
conference in a vacuum or discussing things without any 
specific data.” He frankly related this to a deputation of the 
Depressed Classes from Ahmedabad, and also in his interview 
with the Indian multi-millionaire, Seth Walchand Hirachand. 
He told them that Gandhi could have discussed his proposal 
with the British Premier ; since he was not putting forth any 
proposal, he alone was to blame. 

Visitors, leaders and friends began to call upon 
Dr. Ambedkar. One of such early visitors was Thakkar who 
had served with him on the State Committee. He came to talk 
the matter over. Dr. Ambedkar to whom time was knowledge 
and a precious thing said that he was very busy studying an 
important criminal case and therefore asked Thakkar how 
much time he would require. Thakkar replied that he would 
require an hour or so. Dr. Ambedkar said that he would give 
five minutes. Thakkar asked for more. The interview ended 
with an algebraic brevity, and Dr. Ambedkar went in. Thakkar, 
however, saw Dr. Ambedkar again the next day. A furious 
campaign was launched against Dr. Ambedkar.” 2 

1 : The Times of India of 19th September 1932. 

2 : Keer: Pp. 206-07. 


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On the eve of the Conference of the Hindu leaders 
i.e. on 19th September 1932, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar issued 
another statement to the Press. Following is the full text 
of the Statement. — Editors. 

“I need hardly say that I was astounded to read the 
correspondence between Mahatma Gandhi, Sir Samuel 
Hoare and the Prime Minister,* which was published 
recently in the Papers, in which he has expressed his 
determination to starve himself unto death” till the British 
Government of its own accord or under pressure of public 
opinion revise their opinion and withdraw their scheme of 
communal representation for the Depressed Classes. The 
unenviable position in which I have been placed by the 
Mahatma’s vow of self-immolation can easily be imagined. 

It passes my comprehension why Mr. Gandhi should 
stake his life on an issue arising out of the communal 
question which he, at the Round Table Conference, said 
was one of a comparatively small importance. Indeed 
to adopt the language of those of Mr. Gandhi’s way of 
thinking the communal question was only an appendix 
to the book of India’s constitution and not the main 
chapter. It would have been justifiable if Mr. Gandhi had 
resorted to this extreme step for obtaining independence 
for the country on which he was so insistent all through 
the R. T. C. debates. It is also a painful surprise that 
Mr. Gandhi should single out Special Representation for 
the Depressed Classes in the Communal Award as an 
excuse for his self-immolation. Separate Electorates are 
granted not only to the Depressed Classes, but to the Indian 
Christians, Anglo-Indians, Europeans as well as to the 
Mohamedans and the Sikhs. Also Separate Electorates are 
granted to land-lords, labourers and traders. Mr. Gandhi 
had declared his opposition to the Special Representation 
of every other class and creed except the Mohamedans 
and the Sikhs. All the same Mr. Gandhi now ellooses to 
let every body else, except the Depressed Classes retain 
the Special Electorates given to them. 


* See, Writings and Speeches, Vol. 9, Pp. 77-87. 


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144 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

The fears expressed by Mr. Gandhi about the consequences 
of the arrangements for the representation of the Depressed 
Classes are in my opinion purely imaginary. If the nation 
is not going to be split up by Separate Electorates to the 
Mohamedans and the Sikhs, the Hindu Society cannot be said 
to be split up if the Depressed Classes are given Separate 
Electorates. His conscience is not aroused if the nation is 
split by the arrangements of Special Electorates for classes 
and communities other than the Depressed Classes. 

I am sure many have felt that if there was any class 
which deserved to be given special political rights in order to 
protect itself against the tyranny of the majority under the 
Swaraj constitution, it was the Depressed Classes. Here is a 
class which is undoubtedly not in a position to sustain itself 
in the struggle for existence. The religion to which they are 
tied, instead of providing for them an honourable place brands 
them as lepers not fit for ordinary intercourse. Economically 
it is a class entirely dependent upon the High-Caste Hindus 
for earning its daily bread with no independent way of living 
open to it. Not only every path of progress is closed to them 
by reason of the social prejudices of the Hindus but there is 
a definite attempt all throughout the Hindu Society to bolt 
every possible door so as not to allow the Depressed Classes 
any opportunity to rise in the scale of life. Indeed it would 
not be an exaggeration to say that in every village the caste 
Hindus, however devided among themselves, are always in a 
standing conspiracy to put down in a merciless manner any 
attempt on the part of the Depressed Classes who form a 
small and scattered body of an ordinary Indian citizen. 

In these circumstances it would only be fair for all right 
minded persons admit that for a community so handicapped, 
some share of statutory political power is a paramount 
necessity to succeed in the struggle for life and to protect 
itself against organized tyranny. 

I should have thought that a well-wisher of the Depressed 
Classes would have fought tooth and nail for securing to 
them as much political power as might be possible in the new 
Constitution. But the Mahatma’s ways of thinking are strange 


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and are certainly beyond my comprehension. He not only does 
not endeavour to augment the scanty political power which 
the Depressed Classes have got under the Communal Award, 
but on the contrary he has staked his very life in order to 
deprive them of what little they have got. This is not the 
first attempt on the part of the Mahatma to completely dish 
the Depressed Classes out of political existence. Long before 
there was the Minorities Pact, the Mahatma tried to enter 
into an agreement with the Muslims in order to defeat the 
claims of the Depressed Classes. He offered to the Muslims 
all the 14 claims which they had put forth on their behalf, 
and in return asked them to join with him in resisting the 
claims for Social Representation made by me on behalf of the 
Depressed Classes. 

It must be said to the credit of the Muslim delegates, that 
they refused to be party to such a black act, and saved the 
Depressed Classes from what might as well have developed 
into a calamity for them as a result of the combined opposition 
of the Mohamedans and Mr. Gandhi. 

I am unable to understand the ground of hostility of 
Mr. Gandhi to the Communal Award. He says that the 
Communal Award has separated the Hindu Community. On 
the other hand Dr. Moonje, a much stronger protagonist of 
the Hindu cause and a millitant advocate of its interests, 
takes a totally different view of the matter. In the speeches 
which he has been delivering since his arrival from London, 
Dr. Moonje has been insisting that the Communal Award does 
not create any separation between the Depressed Classes and 
the Hindus. Indeed, he has been boasting that he has defeated 
me in my attempt to politically separate the Depressed Classes 
from the Hindus. I am sure that Dr. Moonje is right in his 
interpretation of the Communal Award although I am not 
sure that the credit of it can legitimately go to Dr. Moonje. 
It is therefore, surprising that Mahatma Gandhi, who is a 
Nationalist, and not known to be a communalist, should read 
the Communal Award in so far as it relates to the Depressed 
Classes in a manner quite contrary to that of a communalists 
like Dr. Moonje. If Dr. Moonje does not sense any separation 
of the Depressed Classes from the Hindus in the Communal 
Award the Mahatma ought to feel quite satisfied on that score. 


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146 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

In my opinion the Communal Award should not only satisfy 
the Hindus, but also satisfy those individuals among the 
Depressed Classes such as Rao Bahadur Rajah, Mr. Baloo or 
Mr. Gavai who are in favour of Joint Electorates. Mr. Rajah’s 
fulminations in the Assembly have amused me considerably. 
An intense supporter of Separate Electorates and the bitterest 
and the most vehement critic of caste Hindu tyranny, now 
professes faith in the Joint Electorates and love for the Hindus. 
How much of that is due to his natural desire to resusciate 
himself from the oblivion in which he was cast by his being 
kept out of the Round Table Conference and how much of it 
is to his honest change of faith, I do not propose to discuss. 

The points on which Mr. Rajah is harping by way of 
criticism on the Communal Award are two; One is that the 
Depressed Classes have gained lesser number of seats than 
they are entitled to on the population basis, and the other 
is that the Depressed Classes have been separated from the 
Hindu fold. 

I agree in his first grievance, but when the Rao Bahadur 
begins to accuse those who represented the Depressed Classes 
at the R. T. C. for having sold their rights, I am bound to point 
out what Mr. Rajah did as a member of the India Central 
Committee. In that Committee’s report the Depressed Classes 
were given in Madras 10 seats out of 150; in Bombay 8 seats 
out of 114; in Bengal 8 seats out of 200; in U. P. 8 seats out 
of 182; in Punjab 6 seats out of 150; in Behar and Orissa 6 
out of 150; in C. P. 8 out of 125 and in Assam 9 seats for the 
Depressed Classes and the indigenous and primitive races out 
of 75. I do not wish to overburden this statement by pointing 
out how this distribution compares with the population ratio. 
But there can be no doubt that this meant a terrible under- 
representation of the Depressed Classes. To this distribution 
of seats Mr. Rajah was a party. Surely, Mr. Rajah, before he 
criticises the Communal Award and accuses others, should 
refresh his memory of what he accepted as Member of the 
Indian Central Committee on behalf of the Depressed Classes 
without any protest. If the population ratio of representation 
was to him a natural right of a Depressed Classes and its 
full realisation was a necessity for their protection, why did 
not Mr. Rajah insist upon it in the Central Committee when 
he had an opportunity to do so ? 


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ROLE OF INDIAN DEMOCRACY 147 

As to his contention that in the Communal Award, the 
Depressed Classes have been separated from the caste 
Hindus, it is a view to which I cannot subscribe. If Mr. Rajah 
has any conscientious objection to Separate Electorates, 
there is no compulsion on him to stand as a candidate in 
the Separate Electorates. The opportunity to stand as a 
candidate in the General Electorate as well as the right to 
vote in it are there, and Mr. Rajah is free to avail himself 
of the same. Mr. Rajah is crying at the top of his voice to 
assure to the Depressed Classes that there is a complete 
change of heart on the part of the Caste Hindus towards the 
Depressed Classes. He will have the opportunity to prove 
that fact to the satisfaction of the Depressed Classes, who 
are not prepared to take his word by getting himself elected 
in the General Constituency. The Hindus who profess love 
and sympathy for the Depressed Classes, will have also an 
opportunity to prove their bona-fides by electing Mr. Rajah 
to the legislature. 

The Communal Award, therefore, in my opinion satisfied 
both those who want Separate Electorates and those 
who want Joint Electorates. In this sense it is already 
a compromise and should be accepted as it is. As to the 
Mahatma, I do not know what he wants. It is assumed 
that although the Mahatma is opposed to the system of 
Separate Electorates he is not opposed to the system of 
Joint Electorates and Reserved Seats. That is a gross error. 
Whatever his views are to-day, while in London he was 
totally opposed to any system of Special Representation 
for Depressed Classes whether by Joint Electorates or by 
Separate Electorates. Beyond the right to vote in a General 
Electorate based upon Adult Suffrage, he was not prepared 
to concede anything to the Depressed Classes by way of 
securing their representation in the legislatures. This was 
the position he had taken at first. Towards the end of the 
R. T. C. he suggested to me a scheme which he said he was 
prepared to consider. The scheme was purely conventional 
without any constitutional sanction behind it and without 
any single seat being reserved for the Depressed Classes 
in the Electoral Law. 


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148 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

The scheme was as follows : — 

Depressed Class candidates might stand in the General 
Electorate as against other High-Caste Hindu candidates. If 
any Depressed Class candidate was defeated in the election 
he should file an election petition and obtain the verdict that 
he was defeated because he was an Untouchable. If such a 
decision was obtained, the Mahatma said he would undertake 
to induce some Hindu members to resign and thus create a 
vacancy. There would be then another election in which the 
defeated Depressed Class candidate or any other Depressed 
Class candidate might again try his luck as against the Hindu 
candidates. Should he be defeated again he should get similar 
verdict that he was defeated because he was an Untouchable 
and so on “adinfinitum.” I am disclosing these facts as some 
people are even now under the impression that the Joint 
Electorates and Reserved Seats would satisfy the conscience 
of the Mahatma. This will show why I insist that there is 
no use of discussing the question until the actual proposals 
of the Mahatma are put forth. 

I must, however, point out that I cannot accept the 
assurances of the Mahatma that he and his Congress will do 
the needful. I cannot leave so important a question as the 
protection of my people to conventions and understandings. 
The Mahatma is not an immortal person, and the Congress, 
assuming it is not a malevolent force, is not to have an abiding 
existance. There have been many Mahatmas in India whose 
sole object was to remove Untouchability and to elevate and 
absorb the Depressed Classes; but every one of them has failed 
in his mission. Mahatmas have come and Mahatmas have 
gone. But the Untouchables have remained as Untouchables. 

I have enough experience of the pace of reform and the 
faith of Hindu reformers in the conflicts that have taken 
place at Mahad and Nasik, to say that no well-wisher of the 
Depressed Classes will ever consent to allow the uplift of the 
Depressed Classes to rest upon such treacherous shoulders. 
Reformers who in moments of crisis prefer to sacrifice their 
principles rather than hurt the feelings of their kindred, can 
be of no use to the Depressed Classes. 


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ROLE OF INDIAN DEMOCRACY 149 

I am therefore bound to insist upon a Statutory Guarantee 
for the protection of my people. If Mr. Gandhi wishes to have 
the Communal Award altered, it is for him to put forth his 
proposals and to prove that they give a better guarantee than 
has been given to us under the Award. 

I hope that the Mahatma will desist from carrying out 
the extreme step contemplated by him. We mean no harm 
to the Hindu Society when we demand Separate Electorates. 
If we choose Separate Electorates we do so in order to avoid 
the total dependence on the sweet will of the caste Hindus 
in matters affecting our destiny. Like the Mahatma we also 
claim our right to err, and we expect him not to deprive us 
of that right. His determination to fast himself unto death 
is worthy of a far better cause. I could have understood the 
propriety of the Mahatma contemplating such extreme step for 
stopping riots between Hindus and Mohamedans or between 
the Depressed Classes and the Hindus or for any other national 
cause. It certainly cannot improve the lot of the Depressed 
Classes. Whether he knows it or not the Mahatma’s act will 
result in nothing but terrorism by his followers against the 
Depressed Classes all over the country. 

Coercion of this sort will not win the Depressed Classes 
to the Hindu fold if they are determined to go out. And if 
the Mahatma chooses to ask the Depressed Classes to make 
a choice between Hindu faith and possession of political 
power I am quite sure that the Depressed Classes will choose 
political power and save the Mahatma from self-immolation. 
If Mr. Gandhi coolly reflects on the consequences of his act 
I very much doubt whether he will find this victory worth 
having. It is still more important to note that the Mahatma 
is releasing reactionary and uncontrollable forces, and is 
fostering the spirit of hatred between the Hindu Community 
and the Depressed Classes by resorting to this method and 
thereby widening the existing gulf between the two. When I 
opposed Mr. Gandhi at the R, T. C. there was a hue and cry 
against me in the country and there was conspiracy in socalled 
nationalist press to represent me as a traitor to the nationalist 
cause, to supress correspondence coming from my side and 
to boost the propaganda against my party by publishing 
exaggerated reports of meetings and conferences, many of which 


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150 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

were never held. “Silver bullets” were freely used for creating 
divisions in the ranks of the Depressed Classes. There have 
been also a few clashes ending in violence. 

If the Mahatma does not want all this to be repeated on 
a larger scale, let him for God’s sake, reconsider his decision 
and avert the disastrous consequences. I believe the Mahatma 
does not want this. But if he does not desist, in spite of his 
wishes these consequences are sure to follow as night follows 
the day. 

Before concluding this statement, I desire to assure the 
public that although I am entitled to say that I regard the 
matter as closed I am prepared to consider the proposals of 
the Mahatma. I however, trust the Mahatma will not drive 
me to the necessity of making a choice between his life and 
the rights of my people. For I can never consent to deliver 
my people bound hand and foot to the Caste Hindus for 
generations to come.” 1 

“The declaration of the fast unto death by Mr. Gandhi made 
the people learn more about the condition of the Untouchables 
and opened their eyes for a while to the passions that were 
seething in the bosom of the Untouchables. The people, the 
Press and patriots were roused to a realisation that there was 
a blot on their society. There was an endless talk about Dr. 
Ambedkar in every political party, in every social circle and 
in every religious institution. He was flooded with telegrams 
and letters, some threatening his life, some appealing to his 
conscience, and some supporting his stand. 

As declared, the Conference of the Hindu leaders was 
held amidst this tense situation at the spacious Hall of the 
Indian Merchants’ Chamber on September 19, 1932, under the 
presidentship of Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya. Dr. Ambedkar 
and Dr. Solanki were seated just near the President’s chair. 
Rajah and Dr. Moonje came to the Hall arm-in-arm.” 2 

Among those present were : Rajendraprasad, C. Rajgopalachari, 
Pandit Kunzaru, T. Prakasham, Dr. Chauthiram, Swami 
Satyanand, Mr. Aney, G. A. Gawai, Mr. Shivraj, Mr. 
Jagannathan, Mr. Dharmalingam, Mr. Mandal, Sir Chunnilal, 

1 : Janata, dated 24th September 1932. 

2 : Keer, P. 208. 


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ROLE OF INDIAN DEMOCRACY 151 

Hirachand Walchand, Sir Setalwad, Sir Madgaonkar, 
Sir Purushottamdas, Shri Deodhar, Mr. Natrajan, Rao 
Bahadur Vaidya, Dr. Deshmukh, Dalvi, Subhedar, Seth 
Birla, Mr. Karandikar, Dr. Savarkar, Shivatarkar, P Balu, 
Nikalje, Kamaia Nehru, Perani Captain, Moshon Captain, 
Sau. Awantikabai Gokhale, Mrs. Annapurnabai Deshmukh, 
Ratanben Mehta, Miss Natrajan. 

In order to save the life of Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Madan 
Mohan Malviya, the President of the meeting suggested that 
a solution acceptable to both the sides should be found out. 

On the request of Pandit Malviya, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar rose 
to speak. He stated his views in a candid manner. He said, 

“Looking at the objective of this Conference, I do not feel 
the need of calling such a Conference. In order to oppose our 
demands, Mahatma Gandhi has started fast unto death. It is 
natural that everybody would like to save the valuable life of 
Mahatma Gandhi. But Gandhiji should have put some concrete 
alternative proposal before staking his life. Having considered 
the present situation, I feel that without any clear alternative 
proposal from Gandhiji, all efforts towards negotiations would 
be in vain. And to be frank, there is nothing left to be decided. 
Unless we know what really is in the mind of Gandhiji, all 
the repeatative deliberations of this Conference are not going 
to yield any result. To whatever length this Conference may 
deliberate I am not in a position to find any solution before 
I know what really is in the mind of Gandhiji and I tell you 
bluntly that I am not at all bound to proposals coming from 
the convenors of this conference or any of the leaders, I shall 
consider the opinion only of Mahatma Gandhi. Unless I know 
his proposal how can I give my opinion ? Bring his proposal 
first and then I shall think over it. And I make it clear in 
the beginning itself that any proposal from Gandhiji should 
be brought by the representatives of the caste Hindus from 
among you and that I shall not accept any proposal brought 
forward by an Untouchable leader on behalf of Gandhiji. I 
shall not sacrifice the rightful demands of my people just in 
order to save the life of Mahatma Gandhi .” 1 

Here, this Conference adjourned for the day. 


1 : Janata, dated 24th September 1932. 


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152 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

“On Monday, September 20, 1932 at 12 O’clock noon 
Mahatma Gandhi started his fast unto death. A committee 
was formed to have negotiations in the matter. The committee 
consisted of Sir Tejbahadur Sapru, Bar. Jaikar. Pandit Madan 
Mohan Malviya, Mathuradas Wasanji as representatives of 
the high Caste Hindus. Dr. B. R. Ambedkar was invited for 
the meeting. In the Conference Sir Chunnilal put forward 
the following views on behalf of Mahatma Gandhi before the 
Committee members. 

They were : 

1. Mahatma Gandhi opposed to the decision of awarding 
Separate Electorates for the Untouchables. 

2. He is not fully agreeable to the Joint Electorates as 
well as for the reserved seats. However, he would not object 
if the All Hindu Conference at Mumbai would take a specifice 
decision for the reserved seats but it would not mean that he 
necessarily agrees with it. If at all any fact is agreed upon 
he may probably give his consent. 

Dr. Ambedkar rose to speak after listening the proposals 
of Mahatma Gandhi. His speech was really very forceful and 
touching to the heart. He said, 

“Today in the negotiations in this difficult situation, I am 
in more strange position than all others. Unfortunately, in 
these peaceful negotiations I appear to be acting as villain for 
the protection of just demands of my people. I am willing to 
suffer to any extent in order to get fulfilled the just demands 
of my people. 

I tell you I shall not deter from my pious duty, 
and betray the just and legitimate interests of 
my people even if you hang me on the nearest 
lamp-post in the street. The question faced today 
is not to be solved by succumbing to emotions, but by 
constitutional means as it involves the countless brethren who 


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ROLE OF INDIAN DEMOCRACY 153 

have been suffering in the slavery for ages. Adherence only 
to conscience will not be of any help here. Looking at the 
nature of the proposal of Mahatma Gandhi, it will take 
some more time to think. However this Conference, through 
a resolution should convey to Mahatma Gandhi to postpone 
his fast for 10-12 days. 

But the President Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya stated 
that it would not be possible in any circumstances. Consequent 
upon this Dr. Ambedkar did not agree to give up the 
Communal Award.” 1 

“The Conference then adjourned till two in the afternoon, 
next day, the 21st September. But immediately the leading 
members of the Conference went to Birla House and there 
Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru evolved a scheme of Primary and 
Secondary elections for the reserved seats. According to it 
the Depressed Classes themselves were to select for every 
seat a panel of not less than three candidates and then out 
of those three chosen candidates one was to be selected by 
the Joint Electorate of the Caste Hindus and the Depressed 
Classes.” 2 

“After a lengthy discussion, Dr. Ambedkar said that there 
could be a settlement provided the additional concessions 
in regard to the Award were given to make good the loss 
which would be caused due to giving up the Award. The 
representatives of the Congress assured that they would 
think over the proposal. Pandit Malviya suggested to form a 
small committee in this regard. Accordingly the Committee 
consisting of Tej Bahadur Sapru, Barister Jaikar, Pandit 
Malviya, Mathuradas Wasanji and Dr. Ambedkar was formed 
and these names were ‘ intimated to the Conference. 

Accordingly Dr. Ambedkar prepared the charter of demands 
and put up before the Committee at 10 p.m. on 20th September 
1932 in Birla Bhavan. The text of the same is as follows.” 3 

1 : Janata, dated 1st October 1932. 

2 : Keer, P. 209. 

3 : Janata, dated 1st October 1932. 


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154 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

The Charter of demands made on the 
eve of Mahatma Gandhi’s fast 

“Part One : — Representation in the Legislature. 

(A) The Depressed Classes shall have the following number 
of seats in the provincial Legislatures : — 

As per award 


Madras 

30 

out 

of 

215 

18 

Bombay 

16 

out 

of 

200 

10 

Bengal 

50 

out 

of 

250 

10 

Punjab 

10 

out 

of 

175 

9 

U. P. 

40 

out 

of 

228 

12 

Behar & Orissa 

20 

out 

of 

175 

7 

C. P &Berar 

20 

out 

of 

112 

10 

Assam 

11 

out 

of 

108 

4 


(B) The method of election to those seats shall be by Joint 
Electorates and Reserved seats, provided that for the first 
ten years in 18 single constituencies in Madras, in 10 single 
Constituencies in Bombay, Central Proviences and Bengal, in 
4 single Constituencies in Assam, in 7 single constituencies 
in Behar and Orissa, in 5 single constituencies in Punjab 
and in 12 single constituencies in U. P. there shall be held 
before the General Election a Primary Election of the voters 
of the Depressed Classes for electing 2 persons to constitute a 
panel who thereafter shall contest on behalf of the Depressed 
Classes in the Joint Electorate. 

After Ten years 

(C) After the first 10 years the system of Primary Election 
shall cease to be in operation and all seats without exception 
shall continue to be filled by direct election on the system of 
Joint Electorates and Reserved Seats. 

(D) The right of the Depressed Classes to Special 
Representation through Joint Electorates and Reserved Seats 
shall be continued to them for a further period of 15 years. 
After the said period the matter shall be settled on the basis 
of referendum to the voters of the Depressed Classes. 


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(E) The right of the Depressed Classes to Special 
Representation in both Houses of the Central Legislature 
shall be recognised on a population ratio on the same terms 
and in the same manner as is provided for in the case of the 
Provincial Legislatures. 

(L) There shall be Adult Suffrage at least for the Depressed 
Classes. The franchise of the Depressed Classes shall be the 
same for the Provincial and the Central Legislatures. 

Part Two : Local Boards 

1. The Depressed Classes shall be allowed representation in 
all the Provinces in all Municipalities, Local Boards, District 
and Taluka, Village Unions, School Boards of Punchayats 
and any Local Body now existing or to be constituted in the 
future on the population basis. 

2. In all Public Services, Central and Local, the Depressed 
Classes shall be guaranteed appointments according to their 
population ratio as a minimum subject to qualifications as 
may be laid down for the same. Provision shall be made for 
reaching the quota by relaxing the statutory rules that may be 
in existence in matters other than educational qualifications. 

3. In every province out of the Educational Grant a sum 
equivalent to the population ratio of the Depressed Classes in 
that province shall be ear-marked as a minimum for providing 
educational facilities to the Depressed Classes. 

4. There shall be a provision in the Constitution allowing 
the Depressed Classes the right to Appeal to the Governor and 
the Viceroy for any neglect of their interest in the matter of 
education, sanitation, recruitment in Public Services, etc., on 
the same terms and in a manner provided in the Constitution 
of Canada, Section 93.” 1 

“Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru evolved a Supreme of Primary 
and Secondary electors for the reserved seats. Thereupon 
Dr. Ambedkar said that he would consult his colleagues and 
come back within two hours with his proposal — Dr. Ambedkar 
returned at night and told them that he would accept the 
proposal, but demanded a much larger number of seats than 
the British Premier’s Award had given them.” 


1 : Janata, dated 24th September 1932. 


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156 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

“The leaders accepted his suggestion; and Jayakar, 
Sapru, Birla, Rajagopalachari and Dr. Rajendra Prasad 
left for Poona by the midnight train on Tuesday. 

On September 21 Gandhi was removed at noon to 
the courtyard just near the entrance of Yeravda Jail, 
and Sardar Patel and Gandhi’s Secretary Pyarelal were 
allowed to sit near his cot. At noon Sapru telephoned to 
Dr. Ambedkar from Poona asking him to come to Poona 
immediately.” 1 

“Dr. Ambedkar in the interview with the Times of 
India, before leaving for Poona on Wednesday the 21st 
September 1932 said : “I have received a message from 
Poona telling me that Mr. Gandhi wishes to see me and 
Mr. Rajah with regard to the proposal which I submitted 
to the Committee appointed by the Conference last night”. 

“I have accepted the invitation but I have made it clear 
that I will have nothing to do in the way of negotiation 
with Mr. Rajah and his party, and if Mr. Gandhi wishes to 
talk with them, he should do so separately. My reason for 
saying this is that the dispute is really between me and 
my party on the one hand and Mr. Gandhi on the other”. 

“Besides I do wish to mark my emphatic disapproval 
of the policy of the Congress and the Hindu Mahasabha 
of creating leaders for the Depressed Class for their own 
purposes and by there own propaganda and then trying 
to foist them on the Depressed Classes. In this there is 
nothing personal against Mr. Rajah. I am starting to-night.” 

Another Visit to Yeravda 

Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru and Mr. Jayakar who arrived 
in Poona by train visited Mr. Gandhi on Wednesday in 
the jail at 7-30 a.m. and remained in Conference with 
him until after 10 a.m. On leaving they said that they 
anticipated returning again tomorrow morning. 


1 : Keer. P210. 


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ROLE OF INDIAN DEMOCRACY 157 

A Statement issued after the interview says : — 

The deputation consisting of Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru, 
Mr. Jayakar, Mr. Rajagopalachari, Babu Rajendra Prasad 
and Mr. G. D. Biria had a long interview with Mr. Gandhi 
this morning when they explained to him the scheme which 
had been evolved at yesterday’s consultations. The interview 
proved to be quite hopeful, but Mr. Gandhi reserved his final 
opinion until he had held further consultations in the matter 
with friends including Dr. Ambedkar and Mr. M. C. Rajah. 

The deputationists are, therefore, staying behind at Poona 
for another day. Sir T. B. Sapru, with whom the scheme 
originated, was very hopeful that it would be acceptable to 
Mr. Gandhi and that thus a solution of the problem would be 
found. The deputationists found Mr. Gandhi well and quite 
cheerful.” 1 

“Dr. Ambedkar left by the midnight train.* On the same 
day Rajah and Malaviya, too, left Bombay for Poona. 

On Thursday morning, i.e. on 22nd September 1932, Gandhi 
had a talk with Dr. Rajendra Prasad and Rajagopalachari 
and said he did not like that election to some of the reserved 
seats should be both by primary and secondary election system 
and to some only by Joint Electorates. He said the primary 
and secondary election system should be applied to all seats 
alike. This was related to Dr. Ambedkar at the National Hotel. 
Again the atmosphere became heated. Some of the leaders 
suggested that in the meanwhile they should send a cable 
to the British Premier requesting him to cancel the Separate 
Electorates for the Depressed Classes.” 2 

On the same day “at 9 A.M. Sir Tejbahadur Sapru and 
Bar. Jaikar met Dr. Ambedkar at National Hotel and apprised 
him about the above facts.” 3 

“But Dr. Ambedkar stoutly and pointedly told them that he 
would be prepared to lose separate electorates which the British 
Premier had invested them with, provided he was given a concrete 

1 : The Times of India, dated 22nd September 1932. 

2 :Keer,P. 210. 

3 : Janta, 1st October 1932. 

* Dr. Ambedkar was accompanied by Dr. Sotanki — Editors. 


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158 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

picture of the substitutes and added that he was not a 
man to run after a mirage. The atmosphere of dullness 
gave place to grim despair. At noon Jayakar, Sapru and 
Malaviya saw Gandhi in the Jail. They were followed by 
P. Baloo and Rajah, who promised Gandhi that they would 
secure an agreement that would satisfy him. 

Late in the evening Dr. Ambedkar, accompanied by 
Jayakar, Birla, Chunilal Mehta and Rajagopalachari, went 
to meet Gandhi in the jail. It was the gravest political 
crisis. When the party entered the prison court, Gandhi was 
lying on a white iron-cot with a jail mattress on it, under 
the thick shade of a low mango tree, and Sardar Patel and 
Sarojini Naidu sat near Gandhi. Near the cot were bottles 
of water, sodabicarb and salt. 

When Dr. Ambedkar approached the cot, there was 
an echoless silence and a breathless eagerness. Would 
the entangling silence move Dr. Ambedkar ? Jayakar had 
foretold that Dr. Ambedkar’s intransigence would collapse 
when he saw Gandhi. Would the entrancing sadness in the 
atmosphere deepened by the twilight inveigle Dr. Ambedkar ? 
Dr. Ambedkar was now in the presence of the enveloping 
personality of Gandhi who had cast his spell on powerful men 
and drowned them in the flood of his magnetic mysticism. 
Amidst the fierce whirlwind raging outside the jail and the 
entangling silence prevailing inside, Dr. Ambedkar was calm 
and collected. A lesser man would have been buried alive 
in such a cyclone of happenings. Dr. Ambedkar loved his 
people more than his life and cared more for the happiness 
of his people than for his own. 

Gandhi was weak. He lay in his bed. The talk began. 
Sapru narrated to Gandhi the whole story. Malaviya 
put the Hindu point of view. Then in a soft, slow flow 
Dr. Ambedkar began. He said in a low voice:” 1 

“Mahatmaji, you have been very unfair to us.” “It is 
always my lot to appear to be unfair,” replied Gandhi, “I 
cannot help it.” 


1 :Keer, Pp. 210-12. 


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ROLE OF INDIAN DEMOCRACY 159 

The interview was protracted and Dr. Ambedkar did most 
of the talking, while Gandhi lay weak and still in his bed. “I 
want my compensation,” Dr. Ambedkar urged repeatedly. “I 
am with you in most of the things you say,” assured Gandhi, 
“but you say you are interested in my life.” 

Dr. Ambedkar : — “Yes, Mahatmaji, I am. And if you devote 
yourself entirely to the welfare of the Depressed Classes, you 
would then become our hero.” 

Gandhi : — “Well, if you are interested in my life, you know 
what you have got to do to save that life. Your position, from 
what you tell me, is like this. You want adequate price and 
compensation before you can agree to forgo what you have 
already secured under the Premier’s decision. You say that the 
double system of voting proposed by you gives sufficient scope 
to the other party to rise, while the seats to be filled under 
the Panel System are designed to satisfy the aspirations of 
your group. What worries me, however, is this. Why do you 
propose the Panel System only for some seats ? Why do you 
not propose it for all the seats ? If the panel system is good 
for one section, it should be good even for the whole of the 
Depressed Classes. That is how I regard the question. You 
are ‘Untouchable’ by birth, but I am now going to make, what 
might appear as an astounding claim for a man in my position, 
I am an ‘Untouchable’ by adoption, and as such more of an 
‘Untouchable’ in mind than you. Any scheme that is really good 
should subserve the interests not of this group or of that, but 
of the Depressed Class as a whole. That is the criterion by 
which I judge this scheme. My first suggestion to you is that, 
if the Panel System is good for any section of the Depressed 
Classes, it should be extended to all the Depressed Class seats. 
I cannot stand the idea that your community should either 
in theory or in practice be separated from me. We must be 
one and indivisible. As I have told the other friends, I feel 
no difficulty in accepting your scheme of electing a panel for 
a few seats. I want to make a present of it to you for all the 
seats. I confess I do not like the scheme as it stands. It will 
divide your community, and would give my life to prevent 
that, just as I am giving my life to prevent the disruption 
of the whole Hindu Community. (Epic Fast Pp. 209-210)” 1 


1 : Reprinted, Khairmode, Vol. 5-Pp. 45-46. 


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160 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

“Dr. Ambedkar accepted Gandhi’s suggestion. The interview 
ended, and the leaders started to settle other details regarding 
the number of men in the panel, number of total seats in the 
provincial assemblies, duration of the primary system, duration 
of the reserved seats and distribution of posts.” 1 (The Epic 
Fast. Pp. 209-10).” 

When Dr. Ambedkar and Dr. Solanki saw Mr. Gandhi, 
they were accompanied by most of the leaders then present 
in Poona. 

“Friday, the 23rd September, dawned. For hours hot 
discussions raged over the number of candidates required 
to make the panel. Then there was the question of seats. 
Dr. Ambedkar demanded 197 seats in the Provincial 
Assemblies and the leaders reduced the number to 126. 
Negotiations dragged on. Hours rushed by. After ten hours of 
discussion, some points were referred to Gandhi and he upheld 
Dr. Ambedkar’s points. But still the negotiations seemed to 
break down on the question of duration of primary election 
and referendum to decide the duration of reserved seats. 
Dr. Ambedkar said that the system of Primary Election 
should terminate at the end often years; but he insisted 
that the question of reserved seats should be settled by 
referendum of the Depressed Classes at the end of further 
fifteen years. The leaders’ opinion was that the evil of reserved 
seats and separation would be perpetuated by making its 
removal dependent upon the will of the Depressed Classes. 
Dr. Ambedkar’s insistent demand for a referendum at the end 
of twenty-five years created a furore among the caste Hindu 
circles. Dr. Ambedkar frankly told them that he refused to 
believe that Untouchability would be no more in the next 
twenty years or so, and therefore he said that faced with the 
sword of Damocles, the Caste Hindus would be compelled to 
change their inhuman attitude to the Untouchables” 2 

“ ... Dr. Ambedkar desired Gandhi to agree to a referendum 
of ten years. Gandhi was slightly better and he spoke very 
slowly but deliberately. “Your logic is irrefutable,” he said. “But 
let the referendum be at the end of five years. Surely, five 
years is a sufficient period to prove the bona-fides of the Caste 


1 : Keer, P. 212. 

2 : Keer, Pp. 212-213. 


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ROLE OF INDIAN DEMOCRACY 161 

Hindus. But if you insist on postponing the referendum further, 
I would begin to suspect that what you want is not to test the 
bona fides of the Caste Hindus but time only to organize the 
Depressed Classes for an adverse referendum.” He made an 
impassioned appeal for mutual trust, confidence, and goodwill. 
He described how from the age of twelve, his whole being had 
rebelled against the very idea of regarding any fellow human 
being Untouchable and how since then he had led a ceaseless 
crusade against the evil. “You have a perfect right to demand 
cent per cent security by the statutory safeguards,” he told 
Dr. Ambedkar, “But, from my fiery bed, I beg of you not to 
insist upon the right. I am here to-day to ask for a reprieve 
for my Caste Hindu brethren. Thank God, their conscience 
has been roused. If you proceed to wrest from them cent per 
cent security by the statutory means, then it will interrupt 
the process of heart-cleansing and self-purification that is 
fast taking place among them. The particular injustice, for a 
while, to the Untouchables might be checked, but the taint 
in Hinduism would remain. After all, Untouchability is but a 
symptom of that deep-seated taint. And, if Hinduism is not 
completely purged of it, it will assert itself again and again 
in various ways and continue to poison our entire social 
and political fabric. I entreat you, therefore, not to deprive 
Hinduism of a last chance to make a voluntary expiation for 
its sinful past. Give me the chance of working among the 
Caste Hindus. That is but fair. If you ask for ten or fifteen 
years, then it is no chance at all. Hindus must give a good 
account of themselves within five years or not at all. For me, 
therefore, the five-year limit of referendum is an absolute 
matter of conscience. There should be a referendum, but not 
at the end of any period longer than five years. Tell your 
friends that I am adamant on this point. I may be a despicable 
person, but when truth speaks through me I am invincible. 
“(Epic Fast, Pp. 211 — 212).” 1 

“The interview ended, and leaders started to settle other 
details regarding the number of men in the panel, number 
of total seats in the Provincial Assemblies, duration of the 
primary system, duration of reserved seats and distribution 
of posts.” “This meeting took place at the residence of Raja 
Bahadur Shivlal Motilal.” 


1 : Reprinted. Khairmode, Vol. 5, Pp. 47-48. 


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162 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

“It was now four in the evening. News came in that 
Gandhi’s health had taken a serious turn, and he was 
fast losing strength. Gandhi’s son, Devdas Gandhi, with 
tears in his eyes, described the condition of his father to 
Dr. Ambedkar and entreated him not to hold over the 
agreement by pressing for a referendum. At last it was 
decided to refer this matter to Gandhi. Ambedkar with 
selected leaders saw Gandhi in the jail at nine o’clock that 
night. Gandhi approved of the idea of referendum, but said 
it should take place after five years. Gandhi’s voice had 
now sunk to a whisper. The Jail Doctors intervened and 
stopped further conversation. The leaves of the mango tree 
above refused to move. It was a breathless silence. The 
visitors had to return. Dr. Ambedkar was not prepared to 
give up his point. His will-power was on the strain. Letters 
threatening his life came in showers.” 1 

Here is one such letter : 

“Dr. Ambedkar, 

If you do not accept to Mahatma Gandhi’s demand 
within four days, your life will be in danger. If you want 
to save your life, you should accept Gandhiji’s demand and 
help ending his fast immediately. This is a warning to you. 
If you do not give up your vehemence, you will be killed.” 

Signed by Haribhai K. Bhat, 

A member and worker of BPEE” 2 

Murderous looks were cast at him in the street, and 
some of the leaders insanely reviled him behind his back.” 

Further, a secret plan to kill Dr. Ambedkar by some 
youth from touchable classes of Poona was reported by 
‘Janata’ (24-9-32, P. 8), thus: 

“Dr. Ambedkar’s life in danger ! 

Secret Meeting of Poona students Murder threat” 

Poona, Dt. 23-9-32, 8 P. M. 


bKeer, P.213. 

2 : Janata, dated 1st October 1932. 


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ROLE OF INDIAN DEMOCRACY 163 

(By Special Reporter of Janata) 

“Two days are over. Negotiations are continuously going 
on. Various experiments of pressurising Dr. Ambedkar are 
going on. The students following the Gogate cult which had 
shot at the Governor, are known to be secretly planning. 
It is also being said that if Dr. Ambedkar is removed from 
the scene, things would settle and Gandhiji’s life would 
be saved. When Dr. Ambedkar was informed of this, he 
laughed at it. Probably his fearless laugh indicated that 
he was not afraid of such a death. However, the local 
Untouchable community is worried about the safety of 
Dr. Ambedkar and they are keeping an alert. Even if there 
happens a slightest injury to Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, 
there would be a grave situation. Thousands of Untouchable 
youth would be ready to make any sacrifice for him. All are 
feeling a concern that there should not be such a violent 
end to Gandhiji’s oath.” 1 

“The leaders who went to see Mahatmaji at 9-30 p.m. 
came out after a comparatively short while looking 
exhausted but cheerful. Dr. Ambedkar was heard to remark 
“Gandhiji is on my side.” 

“The leaders are meeting again in conference at 8 
o’clock on Saturday morning and will see Gandhiji shortly 
afterwards. Prevalent opinion is that complete agreement 
is now within reach. And unless a miraculous piece of ill- 
luck intervenes, Saturday noon must enable Poona to flash 
out the happy news of a difinite settlement. 

Differences on questions of major importance have 
almost been surmounted and have been reduced to 
an almost theoretical difference on the question of a 
referendum of the Depressed Classes at a distant future 
date. It is considered likely that the leaders may agree to 
a referendum to be taken after 10 years. 


J : Janata, dated 24th September 1932. 


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164 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Among the points agreed upon are stated to be the 
following : — 

1. A panel of 4 for election to each seat. 

2. A single vote. 

3. The total number of seats in all Provincial Councils to 
be reserved for Depressed Classes would be between 150 to 
155 as against 71 allowed by the Communal Award. 

The Conference, which had met at Pandit Malaviya’s 
place, early in the morning, after a non-stop sitting of over 
thirteen hours, came to an end at 9-30 p. m., after which 
Pandit Malaviya, Sjt. C. Rajagopalachari, Mr. Jayakar, 
Dr. Sapru, Dr. Ambedkar and others left hurriedly for 
Yeravda jail. 

The Conference attracted anxious crowds at Malaviyaji’s 
place. Even when the leaders rose at 9-30 p. m., no hope of 
settlement to-night was entertained. 

Leaders are racing against time, and lunch after dinner 
today went side by side with discussions. 

While they looked serious and absorbed earlier, boisterous 
laughter was heard emanating from behind the walls in the 
evening. 

The Conference of caste Hindus and Depressed Class 
Leaders commenced at 9 o’clock this morning at Malaviya’s 
residence behind closed doors. The Conference, it is 
understood, covered much ground and came to a settlement 
on questions of panel for election, and basis of representation 
except in the United Provinces, though the final word on the 
matter is still unsaid. 

Regarding panels, it is stated that a panel of four has 
been fixed as against Dr. Ambedkar’s understood demand 
for two and Gandhiji’s suggestion for five. 

To anxious queries by pressmen late in the evening, 
Dr. Sapru replied : “discussions are so far satisfactory, and 
we propose to sit through it even in the night.” 


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Dr. Ambedkar after the Conference stated : — 

“The situation is hopeful. Differences of crucial character 
are few, and there are chances of agreement. Gandhiji is 
feeling weak owing to the fast but carried on the conversation 
with us for over fifteen minutes.” 1 

“On Saturday morning discussions were resumed. 
The question of the total number of seats was decided 
by granting 148 seats to the Depressed Classes in the 
Provincial Assemblies, and it was also decided that 10 per 
cent of the seats of the Hindus from British India in the 
Central Assembly should be given to the Depressed Classes. 
And then discussion was held for hours on the question of 
referendum which baffled the solution as before. As nobody 
would agree to Dr. Ambedkar’s demand, he thought it proper 
to see Gandhi once again in the matter. So, accompanied by 
Dr. Solanki and Rajagopalachari, he went to Gandhi. Gandhi 
told Ambedkar that his logic was irrefutable; but he said 
mere statutory guarantee would not root out the disease. 
He, therefore, entreated Ambedkar to give a last chance to 
Hinduism to make a voluntary expiation for its sinful past 
and added that there should be a referendum but not at the 
end of any period longer than five years. “Five years or my 
life,” said Gandhi with a tone of finality. 

Returning to the place of discussion, Dr. Ambedkar said 
that he was not prepared to yield on the point of the period 
of referendum which should be, he averred, not less than 
ten years. After an hour or so they decided to make the 
agreement without the condition of referendum attached 
to it ! Rajagopalachari explained it to Gandhi in the jail at 
three in the afternoon. Gandhi said it was excellent and 
gave his consent. Rajagopalachari returned posthaste to 1, 
Ramkrishna Bhandarkar Road, Shivlal Motilal’s Bungalow, 
and amidst rejoicings announced that Gandhi had blessed 
the agreement. It took them no time to draft the agreement. 
Amidst an atmosphere of joviality, freshness and chat, the 
agreement was signed at five in the evening on Saturday, 24th 
September, and it went down to history as the Poona Pact. 


J : The Free Press Journal, dated 24th September 1932. 


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166 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

On behalf of the Depressed Classes, Dr. Ambedkar signed 
it; and on behalf of the caste Hindus, Pandit Madan Mohan 
Malaviya signed it.” 1 

“Text of Poona Pact 

The following is the text of the agreement: — 

(1) There shall be seats reserved for the Depressed Classes 
out of the general electorate seats in the Provincial Legislatures 
as follows : 

Madras 30; Bombay with Sind 15; Punjab 8; Bihar and 
Orissa 18; Central Provinces 20; Assam 7; Bengal 30; United 
Provinces 20; Total 148. 

These figures are based on the total strength of the 
Provincial Councils, announced in the Prime Minister’s 
decision. 

(2) Election to these seats shall be by Joint Electorates 
subject, however, to the following procedure : 

All the members of the Depressed Classes, registered in the 
General Electoral Roll in a constituency, will form an Electoral 
College, which will elect a panel of four candidates belonging 
to the Depressed Classes for each of such reserved seats, by 
the method of the single vote; the four persons getting the 
highest number of votes in such primary election, shall be 
candidates for election by the General Electorate. 

(3) Representation of the Depressed Classes in the 
Central Legislature shall likewise be on the principle of Joint 
Electorates and reserved seats by the method of primary 
election in the manner provided for in Clause 2 above, for 
their representation in the Provincial Legislatures. 

(4) In the Central Legislature, eighteen per cent of the 
seats allotted to the General Electorate for British India in the 
said legislature shall be reserved for the Depressed Classes. 

(5) The system of primary election to a panel of candidates 
for election to the Central and provincial legislatures, as 
hereinbefore mentioned, shall come to an end after the first 
ten years, unless terminated sooner by mutual agreement 
under the provision of Clause 6 below. 


1 : Keer, Pp. 213 — 214. 


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ROLE OF INDIAN DEMOCRACY 167 

(6) The system of representation of the Depressed 
Classes by reserved seats in the Provincial and Central 
legislatures as provided for in Clauses 1 and 4 shall 
continue until determined by mutual agreement between 
the communities concerned in the settlement. 

(7) Franchise for the Central and Provincial 
Legislatures for the Depressed Classes shall be as 
indicated in the Lothian Committee Report. 

(8) There shall be no disabilities attaching to any one 
on the ground of his being a member of the Depressed 
Classes in regard to any elections to local bodies or 
appointment to the Public Services. Every endeavour shall 
be made to secure fair representation of the Depressed 
Classes in these respects, subject to such educational 
qualifications as may be laid down for appointment to 
the Public Services. 

(9) In every province out of the educational grant, 
an adequate sum shall be earmarked for providing 
educational facilities to the Members of the Depressed 
Classes.” 1 

“Before signing the pact, the representatives of 
Untouchables from Madras insisted that they would not 
allow Rao Bahadur Rajah and his followers to sign the 
pact. And, if at all they were allowed, Dr. Ambedkar 
and his followers would not sign the pact. Accordingly 
Dr. Ambedkar and his followers signed the Pact. Thereafter 
Dr. Ambedkar was requested to make arrangement to 
obtain the signatures of Mr. Rajah and his followers. After 
lengthly discussions, it was decided that they would be 
allowed to sign the pact at the end of the document and 
in their individual capacities. Accordingly they signed. 
But it was a matter of great surprise that although 
Mr. Rajah had to sign at the end of the document, he 
interpolated his signature in between the signatures of 
Jaikar and Sapru.” 2 

Writings and Speeches, Vol. 9, Pp. 88 — 89. 

2 : Janata, dated 1st October 1932. 


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168 

DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : 

WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

“Signatories to Poona Pact, 
153-154) 

24-9-1932, (Epic Fast, Pp. 

(1) 

Madan Mohan Malaviya 

(12) 

B. S. Kamat 

(2) 

Tej Bahadur Sapru 

(13) 

G. K. Deodhar 

(3) 

M. R. Jayakar 

(14) 

A. V.Thakkar 

(4) 

B.R. Ambedkar 

(15) 

R. R. Bakhale 

(5) 

Shrinivasan 

(16) 

P. G. Solanki 

(6) 

M. C. Rajah 

(17) 

P. Baloo 

(7) 

C. V. Mehta 

(18) 

Govind Malaviya 

(8) 

C. Rajagopalachari 

(19) 

Devdas Gandhi 

(9) 

Rajendra Prasad 

(20) 

Biswas 

(10) 

G. D. Birla 

(21) 

P. N. Rajbhoj 

(ID 

Rameshwar Das Birla 

(22) 

Gavai G. A. 



(23) 

Shankarlal Bankar 

While signing the pact, “Rajagopalachari was so 
much overjoyed that he exchanged his fountain-pen with 
Dr. Ambedkar. 

The following signatures were added 
final sitting of the Hindu Conference on 

in Bombay at the 
September 25 : — 

(1) 

Lallubhai Samaldas 

(10) 

P. Kodandrao 

(2) 

Hansa Mehta 

(11) 

N. V. Gadgil 

(3) 

K. Natarajan 

(12) 

Manu Subhedar 

(4) 

Kamakoti Natarajan 

(13) 

Avantikabai Gokhale 

(5) 

Purushottamdas Thakurdas 

(14) 

K. J. Chitalia 

(6) 

Mathuradas Vassanji 

(15) 

Radhakant Malaviya 

(7) 

Walchand Hirachand 

(16) 

A. R. Bhatt 

(8) 

H.N. Kunzru 

(17) 

Colam 

(9) 

K. G. Limaye 

(18) 

Pradhan” 1 


1 : Reprinted, Khairmode, Vol. 5, Pp. 56 — 57. 


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ROLE OF INDIAN DEMOCRACY 169 

Immediately the contents of the Pact were cabled to the 
British Cabinet, wired to the Viceroy, and also handed over 
to the Secretary of the Bombay Governor by each party 
separately, and next morning the leaders returned to Bombay 
to ratify the Pact. At 2 p. m. the leaders held a meeting at 
the Indian Merchants’ Chamber Hall.” 1 

While reporting the meeting called for confirmation of 
Poona Pact, “The Bombay Chronicle” wrote, Pandit Madan 
Mohan Malaviya was in chair. He, in his speech thanked all 
those who helped in materialising the Poona Pact. He specially 
thanked Dr. Ambedkar without whose help emergence of Poona 
Pact would have been difficult. Now the entire responsibility 
is on the shoulders of Hindus to bring the pact in practice. 

Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru, Sjt. Rajgopalachari spoke on 
this occasion. Mr. Mathuradas, Vissonji Khimji moved the 
resolution. 

Mr. Mathuradas Vissonji Khimji moved the resolution 
ratifying the Poona Pact.” 2 

At this meeting the following resolution was passed : — 

“This Conference confirms the Poona agreement arrived 
at between the leaders of the Caste Hindus and Depressed 
Classes on September 24, 1932, and trusts that the British 
Government will withdraw its decision creating Separate 
Electorates within the Hindu Community and accept the 
agreement in full. The Conference urges that immediate action 
be taken by Government so as to enable Mahatma Gandhi to 
break his fast within the terms of his vow and before it is too 
late. The Conference appeals to the leaders of the communities 
concerned to realize the implications of the agreement and of 
this resolution and to make earnest endeavour to fulfil them. 

“This Conference resolves that henceforth, amongst Hindus, 
no one shall be regarded as an Untouchable by reason of his 
birth, and that those who have been so regarded hitherto will 
have the same right as other Hindus in regard to the use of 
public wells, public schools, public roads, and all other public 

J : Keer, P. 214. 

2 : The Bombay Chronicle, dated 26th September 1932. 


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170 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

institutions. This right shall have statutory recognition at 
the first opportunity and shall be one of the earliest Acts 
of the Swaraj Parliament, if it shall not have received such 
recognition before that time. 

“It is further agreed that it shall be the duty of all Hindu 
leaders to secure, by every legitimate and peaceful means, an 
early removal of all social disabilities now imposed by custom 
upon the so-called Untouchable Classes, including the bar in 
respect of admission to temples.” 1 

Mr. Sapru said, “Dr. Ambedkar faught and fought valiantly 
for the cause which he represented and he promised to be a 
good fighter in the future life of the country. 

Speaking in support of the resolution confirming the Poona 
Pact Dr. B. R. Ambedkar who was greeted with cheers when 
he rose, declared : 

“I believe it is no exaggeration for me to say that no man 
a few days ago was placed in a greater dilemma than I was. 
There was placed before me a difficult situation in which I 
had to make a choice between two difficult alternnatives. 

There was the life of the greatest man in India to be saved. 
There was also for me the problem to try and safeguard the 
interests of community which I was in my humble way trying 
to do at the Round Table Conference according to my light. I 
am happy to be able to say that it has become possible through 
the co-operation of all of us to find a solution so as to save the 
life of the Mahatma and at the same time consistent with such 
protection as is necessary for the interests of the “Depressed” 
Classes in the future. I think, in all these negotiations a large 
part of the credit must be attributed to Mahatma Gandhi 
himself. I must confess that I was immensely surprised, when 
I met him, that there was so much in common between him 
and me. (cheers) 

In fact, any disputes whenever they were earned to him and 
Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru has told you that the disputes that were 
carried to him were of a very crucial character. I was astounded 
to see that the man who held such divergent views from mine at 


1 : Writings and Speeches, Vol. 9, P. 103. 


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the Round Table Conference came immediately to my rescue 
and not to the rescue of the other side. I am very grateful 
to Mahatma for having extricated me from what might have 
been a very difficult situation. 

My only regret is why did not Mahatma take this attitude 
at the Round Table Conference ? If he had shown the same 
consideration to my point of view, it would not have been 
necessary for him to go through this ordeal. However, these 
are things of the past. I am glad that I am here now to 
support this resolution. 

Since the question has been raised in the newspapers 
as to whether this Agreement will have the support of the 
whole “Depressed” Classes community, I should like to make 
it clear that so far as I am concerned and so far as the 
party which stands with me is concerned and I am sure I 
am also speaking for the other friends who are present here 
that we will stand by the Agreement. Let there be no doubt 
about this. 

Our only concern is this, whether the Hindu Community 
will abide by it. (voices : Oh yes, we will) We feel that the 
Hindu Community unfortunately is not an integral whole but, 
if I may say so, a federation of small communities. I hope 
and trust that the Hindus on their side will look upon this 
document as sacrosanct and work in an honourable spirit. 

There is just one thing that I would like to say. I am 
very much obliged to all friends who took part in the 
negotiations, but I should like particularly to mention 
Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru and Mr. C. Rajagopalachari. Without 
Sir Tej Bahadur probably it, would have been difficult to 
carry through many of the points. I must confess that as the 
result of my experience of him for the last two years at the 
Round Table Conference that if there is any man in India 
who is above all communal prejudice it is Sir Tej Bahadur. 
His sense of fairness and justice is always a relief to all the 
minorities who hanker for securing some safeguards in the 
new Constitution. 

I must also mention my friend Rajagopalchari. He came to 
our rescue when we were almost at a breaking-point, and had 
it not been for his ingenuity probably the Agreement would not 


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172 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

have come into being. I must also thank Pandit Malaviya 
for the courtesy and forbearance that he showed in the hot 
exchange of words and acrimonious debates that went on 
during all these negotiations. 

The change that has been brought about in the Communal 
Award has been brought about by the insistence of the 
view that Separate Electorates are injurious to the national 
interests. I must confess that I remain unconvinced of 
that argument. I can quite understand that for a majority 
representation Separate Electorates are harmful but I still 
remain unconvinced that for minority representation Separate 
Electorates are an evil. 

I do not believe that Joint Electorates are going to be the 
final solution for the problem of absorbing the “Depressed” 
Classes in the Hindu Community. 

Any electoral arrangement, I believe, cannot be a solution 
of the larger social problem. It requires more than any 
political arrangement and I hope that it would be possible 
for you to go beyond this political arrangement that we 
are making today and devise ways and means whereby it 
would be possible for Depressed Classes not only to be part 
and parcel of the Hindu Community but also to occupy an 
honourable position, a position of equality of status in the 
community. 

So long as the “Depressed” Classes an ignorant lot, not 
imbued with a sense of self-respect, it was possible for them 
to accept the social status that was given to them by Hindu 
law, but as they get education they will begin to smart 
under these social Laws and there is a great danger of their 
seceding from Hindu Society. I beg of you to bear that in 
mind and hope that you will do the needful in the matter.” 

Rao Bahadur M. C. Rajah further supported the resolution. 
He said that he clearly saw a change of heart among the 
caste Hindu and that was why he supported the Agreement. 
He had no doubt at all that the Agreement will have the 
unstincted support of all the “Depressed” Class people in 
the country. 

Mr. C. Raj gopalachari moved a vote of thanks to the chair. 


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Pandit Malaviya announced that he was going to 
communicate with Mahatmaji regarding the fast declared by 
Sjt. Keiappan to establish the right of the “Depressed Class’ 
people to enter the Gurvayur temple in Malabar. 

Among those present at the Hindu leaders’ Conference 
of Sunday were : Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru, Sir Lallubhai 
Samaldas, Sir Purushottamdas Thakurdas, Sir Chunilal 
Mehta, Sir Govind Madgaokar, Mr. M. R. Jayakar, Pandit 
Hridaynath Kunzru, Mr. G. K. Deydhar, Mr. B. N. Karanjia, 
Mr. K. Natarajan, Rao Bahadur M. C. Rajah, Dr. Ambedkar, 
Mr. P. Baloo, Mrs. D. G. Dalvi, Miss Natarajan, Mrs. 
Hansa Mehta, Mrs. Avantikabai Gokhale, Mr. B. S. Kamat, 
Mr. Manu Subedar, Mr. G. D. Birla, Mr. D. P. Khaitan, Mr. 

B. F. Bharucha, Dr. Solanki, Dr. Choitram Gidwani, Lady 
Chimanlal Setalvad, Mr. Walchand Hirachand, Mr. B. J. 
Deorukhkar, Mr. C. Rajagopalachari, Mr. Devadas Gandhi, 
Mr. T. Prakasam and Babu Rajendra Prasad.” 1 

His Majesty’s Government announced on September 26, 
1932 that it would recommend to Parliament the endorsement 
of the Poona Pact. 

On Monday the 26th September 1932, the Hon’ble Mr. H. G. 
Haig, Home Minister, made his statement in the Central 
Legislative Assembly : 

“Statement Re. Communal Award. The Honourable Sir, 

C. P. Ramaswami Aiyar (Leader of the House) : Sir, will you 
allow me to request you to make a departure from the usual 
practice at question time as a very important statement has 
to be made by my Honourable Colleague, the Home Member, 
and I am sure the House will agree with me when they hear 
the statement that this departure is well justified. Will you 
allow us to do so ? 

Mr. President (The Honourable Sir Ibrahim Rahimtoola): 
What is the statement ? 

The Honourable Sir C. P. Ramaswami Aiyar : The 
Honourable Home Member desires to make a statement 
about the Communal Award and the decision of His Majesty’s 
Government with regard to the Communal Award in relation 
to the Depressed Classes. 


1 : The Bombay Chronicle, dated 26th September 1932. 


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174 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Mr. President (The Honourable Sir Ibrahim Rahimtoola): 
As a special case, the Chair will allow the statement to be 
made at this stage. 

The Honourable Mr. H. G. Haig (Home Member) : In 
accordance with your permission, Sir, I will read to the 
House a Statement issued by His Majesty’s Government this 
morning in connection with the agreement reached at Poona 
on Saturday afternoon. His Majesty’s Government have learnt 
with great satisfaction that an agreement has been reached 
between the leaders of the Depressed Classes and of the 
rest of the Hindu Community regarding the representation 
of the Depressed Classes in the new legislatures and certain 
other matters affecting their welfare. In place of the System 
of General Constituencies combined with Special Depressed 
Class Constituencies contained in the Government Communal 
Award of 4th August last, the agreement provides for General 
Constituencies with which seats are reserved for Depressed 
Classes subject to important conditions as to the manner 
in which the reserved seats are filled. The Government, in 
their Award which was given in the absence of agreement 
between the communities, were solely concerned in relation 
to the Depressed Classes to provide adequate securities that 
the interests of these classes should be observed by the new 
legislatures. As representatives of the Depressed Classes 
and other Hindus acting together believe that the scheme 
now forwarded by them to His Majesty’s Government is 
adequate for the purpose, the Government, in accordance 
with the procedure which they laid down in paragraph 4 of 
their Award, will recommend to Parliament, in due course, 
the adoption of the clauses of the agreement dealing with 
representation in the Provincial Legislatures in place of the 
provision in paragraph 9 of the Award (Applause). 

It will be understood that the total number of general 
seats including those reserved for the Depressed Classes 
under the agreement will, in each Province, remain the 
same as the number of general seats plus the number of 
special Depressed Classes seats provided for in His Majesty’s 
Government’s decision. 


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His Majesty’s Government note the agreement deals also 
with certain questions outside the scope of their award of 
August 4th. Clauses 8 and 9 deal with general points, the 
relisation of which will be likely to depend in the main on 
the actual working of the constitution. But His Majesty’s 
Government take note of these clauses as a definite pledge 
of the intentions of the Caste Hindus towards the Depressed 
Classes. 

There are two other points outside the scope of their 
Award : (1) The agreement contemplates that the franchise 
for the Depressed Classes should be that recommended by the 
Franchise (Lord Lothian’s) Committee. It is obvious that the 
level of the franchise for the Depressed Classes (and indeed 
for Hindus generally) must be determined at the same time 
as that for other communities is being settled, and the whole 
subject is under consideration by His Majesty’s Government — 
(2) The agreement also provides for a particular method of 
electing Depressed Classes representatives for the Legislature 
at the Centres. This, again, is a subject outside the terms of 
this Award which is under investigation as part of the whole 
for election for the legislature at the Centre, and no piecemeal 
conclusion can be reached. What has been said on these two 
points should not be regarded as implying that His Majesty’s 
Government are against what is proposed in the agreement, 
but that these questions are still under consideration. To 
prevent mis-understanding, it may be explained that the 
Government regard the figure 18 per cent, for the percentage 
of British India general seats at the Centre to be reserved 
for the Depressed Classes as a matter for settlement between 
them and other Hindus. (Applause). 1 * 

“In the evening prayers were said in the Prison yard. 
Kasturba then handed Gandhi orange juice, and he broke 
his fast about half-past five amidst a gathering of some two 
hundred disciples and admirers, poet Tagore, Sarojini Naidu, 
Sardar Patel and Swarup Rani Nehru being conspicuous.” 2 

J : (The Legislative Assembly Debates-Official Report — Volume V. 1932, 
Pp. 1307-1308, Monday, 26th September, 1932).” 

Reprinted, Khairmode, Vol. 5, Pp. 57-59. 

2 : Keer, P. 215. 

* For comments on Round Table Conference and Poona Pact — See appendix- V 


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176 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

I Responded to the call of humanity 
and Saved the Life of Mr. Gandhi. 

In this regard Dr. B. R. Ambedkar said, 

“The story of this fact has been told by Mr. Pyarelal in a 
volume which bears the picturesque and flamboyant title of 
“The Epic Fast,” The curious may refer it. I must, however, 
warn him that it is written by a Boswell and has all the 
faults of a Boswelliana. There is another side to it, but there 
is neither time nor space to present it here. All I can do is 
to invite attention to the statement* I issued to the Press on 
the eve of Mr. Gandhi’s fast exposing his tactics. Suffice it to 
say that although Mr. Gandhi declared a fast unto death, he 
did not want to die. He wanted very much to live. 

The fast nonetheless created a problem, and that problem 
was how to save Mr. Gandhi’s life. The only way to save his 
life was to alter the Communal Award which Mr. Gandhi said 
hurt his conscience so much. The Prime Minister had made it 
quite clear that the British Cabinet would not withdraw it or 
alter it of its own, but that they were ready to substitute for 
it a formula that may be agreed upon by the Caste Hindus 
and the Untouchables. As I had the privilege of representing 
the Untouchables at the Round Table Conference, it was 
assumed that the assent of the Untouchables would not be 
valid unless I was a party to it. The surprising fact is that 
my position as the leader of the Untouchables of India was 
not only not questioned by Congressmen but it was accepted 
as a fact. All eyes naturally turned to me as the man of the 
moment or rather as the villain of the piece. 

As to myself it is no exaggeration to say that no man 
was placed in a greater and graver dilemma than I was 
then. It was a baffling situation. I had to make a choice 
between two different alternatives. There was before me 
the duty, which I owed as a part of common humanity, 
to save Gandhi from sure death. There was before me the 
problem of saving for the Untouchables the political rights 
which the Prime Minister had given them. I responded 
to the call of humanity and saved the life of Mr. Gandhi 


* See Pp. 143-150 of this part-Editors. 


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by agreeing to alter the Communal Award in a manner 
satisfactory to Mr. Gandhi. This agreement is known as the 
Poona Pact. 

The terms of the Pact were accepted by Mr. Gandhi and 
given effect to by Government by embodying them in the 
Government of India Act. The Poona Pact had produced 
different reactions. The Untouchables were sad. They had 
every reason to be. There are, however, people who do not 
accept this. They never fail to point out that the Poona Pact 
gave the Untouchables larger number of seats than what 
was given to them by the Prime Minister in his Communal 
Award. It is true that the Poona Pact gave the Untouchables 
148 seats, while the Award had only given them 78. But to 
conclude from this that the Poona Pact gave them more than 
what was given by the Award is to ignore what the Award 
had in fact given to the Untouchables. 

The Communal Award gave the Untouchables two 
benefits : — (i) a fixed quota of seats to be elected by separate 
electorate of Untouchables and to be filled by persons belonging 
to the Untouchables ; (ii) double vote, one to be used through 
Separate Electorates and the other to be used in the General 
Electorates. 

Now, if the Poona Pact increased the fixed quota of seats 
it also took away the right to the double vote. This increase 
in seats can never be deemed to be a compensation for 
the loss of the double vote. The second vote given by the 
Communal Award was a priceless privilege. Its value as a 
political weapon was beyond reckoning. The voting strength 
of the Untouchables in each constituency is one to ten. With 
this voting strength free to be used in the election of caste 
Hindu candidates, the Untouchables would have been in 
a position to determine, if not to dictate, the issue of the 
General Election. No caste Hindu candidate could have dared 
to neglect the Untouchable in his constituency or be hostile 
to their interest if he was made dependent upon the votes of 
the Untouchables. Today the Untouchables have a few more 
seats than were given to them by the Communal Award. But 
this is all that they have. Every other member is indifferent, if 
not hostile. If the Communal Award with its system of double 


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178 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

voting had remained the Untouchables would have had a 
few seats less but every other member would have been a 
member for the Untouchables. The increase in the number of 
seats for the Untouchables is no increase at all and was no 
recompense for the loss of Separate Electorate and the double 
vote. The Hindus, although they did not celebrate the Poona 
Pact, did not like it. Throughout their commotion to save 
Mr. Gandhi’s life there was definite current of conscious feeling 
that the cost of saving his life may be great. Therefore, when 
they saw the terms of the Pact they very definitely disliked 
it, although they had not the courage to reject it. Disliked by 
the Hindus and disfavoured by the Untouchables, the Poona 
Pact was given recognition by both parties and was embodied 
in the Government of India Act.” 1 

After the Poona Pact, Third Round Table Conference 
was held at England. Dr. B. R. Ambedkar left India on 7th 
November 1932 to attend this Conference. Gandhi’s fast and 
Poona Pact were the issues of debate everywhere. One of the 
comments about Dr. B. R. Ambedkar is as follows : 

“On boardship many important passengers talked about 
the Poona Pact and about Gandhi’s fast that had rocked the 
Indian world. The fast had impressed them tremendously. 
One of the European passengers pointing to Dr. Ambedkar, 
said to his friend : “This is the young man who is writing 
new pages of Indian history.” 2 

• • 


1 : Writings and Speeches, Vol. 9, Pp. 87-90. 

2 : Keer, P. 220. 


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SECTION IV 

KALARAM TEMPLE ENTRY 
SATYAGRAHA, NASIK AND TEMPLE 
ENTRY MOVEMENT 


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BLANK 


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KALARAM TEMPLE ENTRY MOVEMENT 181 

CONCENTRATE ENERGY AND RESOURCES ON 
POLITICS AND EDUCATION 

“In the history of India the year 1930 was a year of action 
and reaction. It brought forth a new line of thinking and a 
new angle of approach; new measures of represssion and 
new methods of rapprochement. Better still, it was the age 
of Satyagraha. It was in this year that Mahatma Gandhi 
as the generalissimo of the Congress inaugurated his great 
movement for the liberation of the country on March 12, 1930, 
and transformed the whole country into a theatre of passive 
resistance, vast crowds facing battalions of mounted police, 
rounds of firing and terms of jail life. 

Ten days before the Dandi March of Gandhi, Ambedkar, 
the father of Indian social unrest, launched his temple entry 
movement at Nasik. Preparations for this movement had been 
going on for over three months. Dr. Ambedkar was guiding, 
inspiring and organising it from Bombay through his letters 
and lieutenants. The Depressed Classes at Nasik had formed 
a Satyagraha Committee and through its Secretary, Bhaurao 
Gaikwad, informed the Trustees of the famous Kalaram Temple 
that they would launch Satyagraha, if the Trustees did not 
throw the temple open to the Untouchable Hindus before a 
particular date. Simultaneoulsy, a clarion call was issued to 
the Depressed Classes to come to Nasik to assert their right 
of worshipping Shree Rama in the said temple. In response to 
this call of the Satyagraha Committee, about 15,000 volunteers 
and representatives assembled in a specially erected pandal 
in the Depressed Classes locality at Nasik. Notable among 
those present were Deorao Naik. Rajbhoj, Pradhan, Shivtarkar, 
Patitpavandas and B.G. Kher. 

At last the day of action dawned. It was Sunday, March 2, 
1930. In the morning at ten, a Conference was held under the 
Presidentship of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar in the pandal to consider 
the situation and adopt ways and means for launching the 
Satyagraha.'” 1 

“Dr. Ambedkar put forward a thought-provoking speech about 
the entry of Kalaram Temple. He said, today, we are about to 


*: Keer P. 136. 


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182 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

enter the Temple. But the entry in the Temple would not 
solve the whole problem. Our problem is comprehensive. 
It is political, social, religious, economic, educational etc. 
The issue of Kalaram Temple entry is a appeal to the 
Hindu mind. The high caste Hindus deprived us from the 
far ages. Whether the same Hindus are willing to grant 
our humanitarian rights will be the question raised from 
this Temple entry Satyagraha. Whether the Hindu mind is 
willing to accept us as human beings, this is the question to 
be tested through this Satyagraha. The high caste Hindus 
looked down upon us and treated us even worse than cats 
and dogs. We wish to know whether those very Hindus 
would give us the status of man or not. This Satyagraha will 
provide answer to this question. This Satyagraha is one of 
the efforts for bringing about a change of heart among the 
high Caste Hindus. Hence the success of this effort depends 
on the Hindu mind- set. 

Our real problem is not going to be solved by the entry 
into the Ram Temple. It will not bring about any radical 
change in our life. But this is a test to judge the high 
caste Hindu mind. Whether the Hindu mind is willing to 
accept the elevated aspirations of the new era that “man 
must be treated as man ; he must be given humanitarian 
rights ; human dignity should be established “is going to 
be tested. In order to achieve this goal, we have launched 
this Satyagraha. The main question is whether the high 
caste Hindus are going to consider these aspects and act 
accordingly. 

We know that in this temple resides God made of stone. 
By having a mere glance at him or by worshiping him, our 
problem will not be solved completely. Millions of people 
might have visited this temple and have had a glance at the 
god uptill now. But who would say that their basic problem 
was solved by this act? We know this. But our Satyagraha 
today is an effort to bring about a change of heart among 
the Hindus. With this principled position we are launching 
this Satyagraha.” 1 

J : Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkaranchi Patre (Marathi); Shankarrao Kharat, 
Pp. 46, 47. English Translation by Editors. 


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KALARAM TEMPLE ENTRY MOVEMENT 183 

“At noon the Conference adjourned and again met at half 
past one. 

At three in the afternoon, the congregation divided itself 
into batches of four extending itself over a mile-long procession. 
It was the biggest procession in the history of Nasik. At the 
head played a band after the military style redolent of the 
association of many of the Depressed Class members with 
military life. Then followed a batch of scouts. Behind them 
walked about 500 women Satyagrahis showing a revolutionary 
change in their outlook; and they were followed by a multitude 
of processionists enthused with an exalted spirit, but walking 
with a full sense of discipline, order and determination. As soon 
as the procession came up to the eastern gate of the temple, 
the District Magistrate, the Police Superintendent and the City 
Magistrate moved towards the gate of the temple. As all the 
gates of the temple were closed, the processionists proceeded 
to the Godawari Ghat. There the procession transformed itself 
into a meeting. 

At eleven O’clock that night the leaders again discussed 
the issue in all its aspects and decided to launch a non- 
violent struggle before the gates of the temple. This historic 
struggle thus commenced on the morning of March 3,1930. 
The first batch of 125 men and 25 women was posted at the 
four gates of the temple, and over 8,000 enlisted Satyagrahis 
were awaiting their turn. But the gates of the temple were 
closed and barricaded. While the Satyagrahis squatted at 
the entrance, chanting hymns and singing bhajans, crowds 
of Untouchables numbering over 3,000 gathered in their 
vicinity; but the police were on the alert and kept them on 
the move. A strong force of armed police was posted at each 
gate. Two First Class Magistrates were on duty at the place 
since early morning to meet any emergency. Reynalds, the 
Police Superintendent, had shifted his office to a tent pitched 
right in front of the temple. 

The touchables, too, were precluded from entering the 
temple as the gates remained closed, and their leaders were 
deliberating behind closed doors to find a way out of the 
impasse. A difficult situation would have developed had the 
gates been opened to the Caste Hindus. 


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184 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

At night, a public meeting of the citizens of Nasik was held 
under the Presidentship of Dr. Kurtakoti, the Shankaracharya, 
but it ended in pandemonium due to the predominance of the 
orthodox people. The Sanatanists by now had got panicky 
and rowdy. They pelted the meeting with stones and shoes. 
It was felt that even Rama himself would be thrown aside, if 
he were to fell the orthodox Hindus to throw open the temple 
to the Untouchables ! 

The Satyagraha struggle continued for about a month. 
April 9 dawned. It was the day of the chariot procession of 
the image of Rama. A compromise was patched up between 
the Caste Hindus and the Untouchables. It was decided 
that strong men from both sides should draw the chariot. 
Thousands of people assembled at noon near the main gate 
of the temple to see the sight. Dr. Ambedkar, with his choice 
gymnasts, stood near the gate. But before they could touch the 
chariot, they were engaged in broils by the riotous element 
of the Caste Hindus, and the Caste Hindus ran away with 
the chariot, as secretaly planned, through a street, narrow, 
thorny and inconvenient on either side, and the mouth of 
which was guarded by armed police. A daring Bhandari youth 
by name Kadrekar broke the cordon of the armed police who 
were awaiting orders to fire, and in a movement crowds of 
Untouchables pursued the chariot amidst showers of stones 
and captured it. Dangerously wounded, Kadrekar fell down in 
a pool of blood. Dr. Ambedkar was protected by his men and 
as the umbrellas that protected his person were shattered, he 
too, received minor injuries. There was free fighting between 
groups of Untouchables and Caste Hindus all over the city. 

This Satyagraha provoked considerable ill-feeling in the 
minds of the orthodox Hindus throughout the District. As 
a result of this tension children of the Untouchables were 
thrown out schools, roads were closed to them, and necessaries 
of life were denied to them in the market because they 
claimed equal rights with all other Hindus. Untouchables in 
several villages were maltreated. Despite these sufferings, 
the struggle at Nasik was earned on. Attempts were being 
made to persuade both the parties to reach a compromise. 
Dr. Moonje and Dr. Kurtakoti the Shankaracharya, 


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were trying to reach a settlement. The great multi-millionaire 
Birla also saw Dr. Ambedkar in Bombay in the middle of April 
1930. But so firm was the resolve of the Depressed Classes 
that orthodox Hindus had to keep the famous temple closed 
for a whole year and the agitation continued.” 1 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar had written two letters to His 
Excellencey Governor of Bombay regarding the problems 
created by the bureaucracy during Kala Ram Temple entry 
Satyagrah at Nasik. 

The letters are as follows : Editors. 

“BHIMRAO R. AMBEDKAR, Damodar Hall Parel, 

M.A., Ph. D., D. Sc, Bombay-12. 

Bar-at-law, 24th March 1930. 

Member, Legislative Council, 

Bombay. 

May it please your Excellency, 

I am extremely obliged to Your Excellency for the letter 
of the 13th of March 1930 in reply to my telegram giving an 
assurance that Government proposed to act impartially in 
the dispute between the touchables and the Untouchables, 
which is centered in the Satyagraha at the Kala Ram Temple 
at Nasik. I have honour to bring to Your Excellency’s notice 
at recent development in the situation which seems to be 
fought with the greatest danger. On the day on which the 
Satyagraha was started, we purposely ommitted to blocade 
the entrance to the house of the Pujari of the temple 
assuming that it would not be used by the public for the 
purpose of going into the temple and obtain Dev Darashan. 
But of late this entrance has become a public passage and 
the public in Nasik is using it to go into the temple. If this 
is allowed, it will entirely frustrate the principal object of 
the Satyagraha. To prevent this, the District Superintendent 
of Police and the District Magistrate were approached by 
the Satyagraha Committee to discuss the question and 
to communicate to them the intention of the Satyagraha 
Committee to blocade that private entrance to the general 
public and permit only the members of family of the Pujari. 


Keer, Pp. 137, 138. 


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186 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

The District Magistrate, however, refused to see the members 
of Satyagraha Committee and turned them away with a chit 
stating that he will remove those who will start Satyagraha at 
the door of the Pujari. It is not for me to say whether such a 
conduct on the part of a District Officer is wise. What I wish 
to point out to Your Excellency is that if the attitude of the 
Collector is to prevail, it will immediately provoke a conflict 
between the Government and the Depressed Classes. Our real 
contest is with the touchable Hindus and I have been avoiding 
every circumstance which would leave the touchable Hindus 
out and make the Satyagraha a matter between Government 
and the Depressed Classes. Indeed this could have been done 
on the first day by our refusal to make Satyagrahis stand 
outside the barricades and insist on forcing through the 
Police guards for seating them next to the temple gates. This 
we did not do simply because we did not wish to make it a 
fight between ourselves and the Government. But it would 
be inevitable if the Government to depart from its original 
intention of remaining impartial by permitting the Pujari to 
permit to use his private entrance as a public passage and 
thereby be a party to the frustration of our object. Under no 
circumstances can we permit this new stunt of the Pujari 
and tolerate his rendering our Satyagraha futile even if it 
brought us into conflict with Government. I am writing this 
to inform Your Excellency of the situation as it is developing 
and to give a chance for the reconsideration of the attitude of 
the District Magistrate before of the Satyagraha Committee 
addressed to me and also a copy of the chit sent to them 
by the District Magistrate with which he turned them away 
when they called upon him, 

I have seen the place myself last Saturday and I am 
quite convinced that the fear expressed and the danger to 
the Satyagraha which is apprehended are real. 

I beg to remain, 

Your Excellency’s Most Obedient Servant, 
(Sd) B.R.Ambedkar .” 1 


1 : Khairmode. Vol. 3; Pp. 321 — 323. 


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Second letter: — 

“BHIMRAO R. AMBEDKAR, 

M.A., Ph. D., D. Sc, 

Bar-at-law, 

Member, Legislative Council, 

Bombay. 

To, 

His Excellency the Rt. Honourable Sir, 

Frederick Sykes, P. C, G. C. I. E., 

G. B.E.,K. C.B.,C.M.G„ 

Governor of Bombay, 

Bombay. 

May it please Your Excellency, 

The Government of Bombay must have received a report 
from the District Magistrate of Nasik on the riot that took 
place there between the touchables and the Untouchables on 
the 9th instant. I feel it necessary to submit to Your Excellency 
my reversion of the riot. 

Origin of the Riot : — According to the practice of the Kala 
Ram Temple at Nasik, the Rath (carriage of the God Ram) 
was to be taken out in the procession through the city. I 
was asked by Inspector Karnik (one of the Police Officers on 
duty at the Kala Ram Temple) what attitude I proposed to 
adopt the connection with the Rath procession. I told him 
that if equal treatment was accorded to Untouchables I had 
no objection to the Rath being taken out and I also specified 
the nature of the equality of treatment. I had stipulated for 
stating that I would insist upon two things — 

(1) That the Untouchables will participate in dragging 
the Rath alongwith the touchables, and (2) the Untouchables 
will offer Puja to the Idol in the Rath. Mr. Karnik 
then left and turned with the District Magistrate. The 
District Magistrate told me that my conditions were 
accepted by the touchable Hindus and that the touchables 
would bring the Rath to the main door of the temple 


Damodar Hall Parel, 
Bombay- 12. 

11th April 1930. 


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188 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

and after they had dragged it for 10 feet from the gate the 
Untouchables could join, and together with the touchables 
join carrying by holding the rope fastened to the Rath, and 
questioned me whether I had any objection to the Rath 
procession, to which I replied ‘I had none’ and in order to 
help the cause of peace I went out of my way to sort out 
about 50 out of a 5,000 Untouchables and told them that 
they alone want to take part in the dragging of the Rath. 
Accordingly the Rath was brought out to the temple gate by 
the touchables. But the touchables who wanted to decieve both 
the Untouchables and the Police Officers did two things — 
(1) the touchables held the rope so close to one another that 
no room was left for the Untouchables to join in, and (2) 
the touchables instead of stopping the Rath at-the temple 
gate, as previously agreed to, began to run away with it so 
as to give no chance to Untouchables to catch the rope and 
participate in carrying the Rath. This menacure to violate the 
most important condition in the agreement naturally enraged 
the feelings of the Untouchables. But the immediate cause of 
the fight was the action of the Police Sepoys a great majority 
of whom were Caste Hindus, they at once started to assualt 
those Untouchables who were struggling to hold a bit of the 
rope. The fight was started by the Caste Hindu Police who 
openly took the side of the touchable Hindus. 

The batch of 50 Untouchables was thus subjected to an 
assault from two-sides. The touchable Hindus who had held 
the rope were brushing them away and preventing them from 
taking a position near the rope and when the Untouchables 
were struggling to take a position the caste Hindu Police 
were charging with their batons and butt-ends of their rifles. 

Seeing their men assualted in this way the rest of the 
Untouchables followed the Rath with which the touchables 
were running away at a terrific speed. Seeing that the crowd 
of the Untouchables pursuing the Rath had come very near 
it, the touchables abandoned Rath on the road and went to 
adjoining field and began to throw a volley of stones on the 
crowd of Untouchables who were standing on the road. 

The road was lined on one side by barbed wire and on the 
other side by cactus, and consequently the Untouchables could not 


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escape from the volley of stones as a result of which many of 
them were injured. The peaceful conduct of the Untouchables 
is evidenced from the fact that there is not a single casualty 
reported from among the touchable Hindus. 

Extent of the mischief done : — The crowd of the touchable 
Hindus when they were dispersed from the Field wherefrom 
they were throwing stones went to the camp of the Satyagraha 
Committee, pulled down the tent, smashed bicycles of volunteers, 
stoned the motor belonging to one of the members of the 
Committee and stoned the women who were in the charge of 
the kitchen and caused injuries to small children straying about. 

From there it went to the bank of the river where they 
found some Untouchable men, women and children who could 
not leave the bank of the river and join the main body of the 
Untouchables at the temple gate on account of the fact there 
was no one to take charge of their bullocks and carts, they 
were brutally assaulted, their belongings were burnt and some 
were thrown into water. 

According to the information given to me this attack resulted 
in the death of one man. Very little help was given to these 
unfortunate Untouchables on the bank of the river. The main 
body of the Untouchables could not go to their rescue because 
they were stopped from moving from their place and the police 
cordon was placed around them and as most of the Police 
force was engaged in keeping custody of the main body of the 
Untouchables at the gate, very few were left to give aid to those 
Untouchables who became victims to the attack on the bank. 

Attitude of the Police : — I must, however, guard myself 
against creating the impression that I have any complaint to 
make against the Police Officers. On the contrary, I have not 
the slightest hesitation to say that they have done their duty. 
I wish particularly to mention the names of Inspectors-Shelke, 
Nagarkar and Karaka for their splendid work in the most 
trying circumstances arising out of the Satyagraha. 

My complaint is against the Sepoys who took sides and 
who exhibited their caste prejudice by assaulting respectable 
Untouchables in a most wanton fashion. Their names and 
numbers will be submitted to their superiors and I trust Your 
Excellency will direct disciplinary action against them. 


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190 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Policy of District Magistrate : — I regret to say that I was 
not satisfied with the policy of the District Magistrate in 
connection with the Satyagraha of the Untouchables. In my 
last letter I had informed Your Excellency how a private door 
of the house of the Pujari was being used by the public as an 
entrance to the temple and how our Satyagraha was being 
frustrated thereby. 

The District Magistrate did not pay any regard to our 
contention and on the Ramnavami Day not only allowed the 
public to use the private entrance of the Pujari in complete 
disregard of our contention but prohibited our Satyagrahis to 
sit as usual at the adjacent public way the barricade from 
which was removed to provide exit to the touchable Hindus 
entering by the private door. As a result 18 Untouchables 
out of 300 who offered Satyagraha were arrested on the 
Ramnavami Day. 

After the riot of the 9th, the District Magistrate proposed to 
me that I must stop the Satyagraha or else he will withdraw 
the Police. His proposal was considered by the Satyagraha 
Committee and was rejected and I think rightly. Nothing could 
be a greater disaster to movement of the Untouchables than 
the stopping of the Satyagraha at this juncture. The touchable 
Hindus would gain the impression that any slight use of the 
force is sufficient to crush the movement of the Untouchables. 

Under the circumstances I or Satyagraha Committee can 
allow such an impression to go round. Only on this, if on no 
other account, we must continue our Satyagraha. Regarding 
the withdrawal of the Police, I wish the Government of Bombay 
to realise fully the implications thereof. 

To my mind it means that the Government is not willing 
to use the power it has under its command to help people 
who are struggling for their rights to win them. Such a power 
is good for nobody and the Depressed Classes may then be 
justified in joining hands with those who are speaking for 
a change. I hope that the Government of Bombay will give 
proper directions to the District Magistrate on this point. 

I learn from the ‘Times of India’ of today’s date that the District 
Magistrate has promulgated an order under Section 144 Cr. P. Code 


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and prohibited people coming from near the Kala Ram Temple. 
I do not know if this order contemplates the prevention of 
our Satyagrahis from sitting at the temple doors as they have 
been doing heretofore. 

I most respectfully submit to Your Excellency that there 
is a chance (I use this word advisedly as I do not know the 
opinion of the Satyagraha Committee) of this order being 
respected only if the District Magistrate gives an assurance 
that the temple doors will remain closed during the period 
stated in his order and that the private door of the Priest 
will not remain open to the public. 

As I have made clear in my last letter, the fight is between 
touchables and the Untouchables and I have no desire to bring 
the latter into the conflict with the Government. 

I am anxious to have an interview with Your Excellency 
to discuss the situation personally and if Your Excellency is 
inclined to grant one I am available till 2 p.m. tomorrow. 

Awaiting the favour of Your Excellency’s early reply, 

I remain, 

Your Excellency’s Most Obedient Servant, 
Sd/- B. R. Ambedkar.” 1 


“Win Freedom By Your Own Efforts” 

Dr. Ambedkar’s Advice to Trichur People 

Calicut, June 17, 1931. 

Dr. Ambedkar of Bombay in the course of a letter to the 
organiser of the Temple Entry Satyagraha, Trichur, says 
“Would advise you not to depend upon Congress help. It won’t 
help you in this matter. Its help would not redound to your 
credit. Want our people win freedom by their own efforts.” 2 


1 : Khairmode, Vol. 3; Pp. 323-328. 

2 : The Bombay Chronicle, dated 18th June 1931. 


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192 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

“Dr. AMBEDKAR’S ADVICE 

Nothing could be more natural on the part of Doctor 
Ambedkar than to suggest that the organisers of the Temple 
Entry Satyagraha at Trichur should not take the help of 
the Congress in their campaign. For, otherwise, the task of 
misrepresenting the Congress would be rendered still more 
difficult. And then, secondly, one cannot be expected to 
surrender one’s “raison d’etre” . Doctor Ambedkar’s letter is 
nothing mope than a very intelligible struggle for existence. 

Blessings to Nasik Satyagrahis From London 

Bombay, November 2, 1931 

The General Secretary, Nasik Temple Entry Satyagraha 
Committee, has received the following message from Dr. 
Ambedkar from London : — 

“I regret very much not to have been able to write to you 
in reply to the letter you sent me some time ago containing 
the interview you had with the Commissioner. I have been so 
much taken up with the question of minorities which as you 
know has become much more difficult owing to the attitude 
of Mr. Gandhi that I have had no minute to spare : — 

As anticipated by you I did get a letter from the 
Commissioner C. D. asking me to advise you people to stop 
the Nasik Satyagraha. I have not replied to him but I am 
going to do so by this mail. I am going to tell him that we 
cannot stop. So you may tell our people to go on. We must 
hot take our orders from the Government just as we must 
not take them from the Orthodox Hindus. 

We have trusted Government long enough 

We have trusted the Government long enough to remove 
“Untouchability”. But it has not lifted its finger to do anything 
in the matter and it has no right to ask us to stop. We must 
take the burden on our shoulders and do what we can to free 
ourselves from this course at any cost. If the Government does 
not help us, it must not at least hamper our just cause. It is 
no use telling us that we must not create ill-feeling between 
different classes and communities. This appeal by Government 
should be addressed to all the communities and not to us 
alone. It should specially be addressed to those communities 
who are in the wrong and who are sinning in the matter. 


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“My people don’t need me” 

You may publish a translation of this in handbills and 
broadcast them among our people. I have been reading the 
telegrams regarding the struggle at Mukhed between our 
people and the castemen. I am glad to find that our people 
are prepared at all costs to carry on the fight to a success. 
I congratulate them on their splendid resolve. I see that you 
are starting Satyagraha on the 5th November. I hope you 
have made the best preparation. I am sorry. I am not there 
to help you. But I know that our people are now alive to their 
problem and that they do not need me every time. — A.P.” 1 

The situation prevailing in Nasik during the Satyagraha 
was reported in the Times of India as follows : Editors. 

“No Right to bathe in the Sacred Kunds, 

Nasik enduring decisions against Untouchables. 

(From our Correspondent.) 

Nasik, June 6, 1932. 

‘On the whole I believe that Untouchables have neither 
the right to approach the four Kunds (bathing pools) nor 
to bathe in them. Therefore, under Section 147 (3) of the 
Cr. P. Code, I hereby prohibit all Mahars, Mangs, Chamars, 
Dheds, Bhangis and other Untouchables from exercising their 
alleged right of proceeding to and bathing in Lakshmana, 
Dhanushya, Ram and Sita Kunds, until they obtain from 
a Civil Court an order entitling them to bathe there.’ Thus 
observes Mr. L. N. Brown, District Magistrate of Nasik in the 
order passed today in connection with the inquiry instituted 
into the dispute between the Sanatanists and Untouchables 
in which the latter claim the right to proceed to and bathe 
in the Sacred Kunds. 

Dealing with the question of Irish Bridge Sandhwa 
located near the Ram Kund, the Magistrate says that 
it appeared that this Sandhwa is used by the pilgrims 
doing the Pradakshina (a religious ceremony) or the 
Sacred Kunds. Its use as a thoroughfare is secondary. 
It is, I think, a fair deduction from the evidence 


1 : The Bombay Chronicle, dated 3rd November 1931. 


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194 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

that respectably dressed Christians and Mahomedans have 
been allowed to cross the Sandhwa. But this evidence is not 
strictly relevent to the present case which is concerned with 
the rights of Untouchable Hindus. It has not been proved that 
Hindu Untouchables have any right to use this Sandhwa.’ 1 

When the Temple-Entry -Satyagraha was going on a move 
was forced to get the temple-entry legalised by the Government. 
The background of the issue is as follows : 

The Temple-entry movement in India received a setback 
when the Courts of law held that entry in the temples by the 
Untouchables was illegal being against the established custom. 
Such judicial pronouncements turned out to be stumbling 
blocks in the way of social reform undertaken by Mahatma 
Gandhs. Against this backdrop efforts were afoot to bring 
about legislation to overcome that barrier. Therefore, several 
Bills were intended to be introduced in the Central Legislature 
as well as the Provincial Legislatures. Of the bills mentioned 
above, the most important were those of Dr. Subbaroyan’s 
Temple-Entry Bill and Ranga Iyer’s Untouchability Abolition 
Bill. 

Dr. Subbaroyan’s Temple-Entry Bill was intended to 
undo the wrong done by the Courts of Law and sought to 
amend the Madras Religious Endowments Act. The Bill, 
however, was approved by the Sanatoria Hindus prominent 
of them being Pandit Madan Malaviya, Konda Venkatappaiah 
and S.T. Ramanuja Iyengar, Srinivasa Iyengar. However, 
Dr. Subbaroyan’s Temple-Entry Bill in the Madras Council 
was refused permission on the ground that it was far-reaching 
in implication for enactment by a Provincial Legislature. 
Afterwards Ranga Iyer drafted a second Bill based on 
Dr. Subbaroyan’s which the Viceroy permitted to introduce 
it in the Central Assembly, subject to the same qualification 
as in the case of his forerun Bill. 

His Excellency Lord Wellington the Viceroy, for its 
introduction in the Central Legislative Assembly subject to the 
condition that the Government of India did not commit themselves 
to accepting its principles and that the fullest opportunity would 
be given to every section of the Hindu Community to express an 


1 : The Times of India. 7-6-1932, Reprinted, Khairmode, Vol. 3; Pp. 351-352. 


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opinion on its provisions. Mahatma Gandhi pleaded with 
the Viceroy by his letter dated February 1, 1933 that the 
Government of India was bound to support these two Legislative 
measures in view of the Resolution dated September 25, 1932 
passed by the Caste Hindus at Bombay which formed part 
of the Poona Pact. 

Mahatma Gandhi saw that the Ranga Iyer’s Bill should be 
supported by everyone. He sent out an appeal to the Hindu 
Members of the Central Legislative Assembly. He utilised the 
services of C. Rajagopalachari, who, according to him, was 
‘a better lobbyist’, to enlist support for the Bills. He advised 
him not to take to heart, “Dr. Ambedkar’s explosion, the 
Government’s decision and Malaviya’s opposition.” G. D. Birla 
and Devdas Gandhi were appointed to canvass support for the 
Bills. When the Bills had come to the stage of appointment 
of a Select Committee, the British Government had taken a 
decision to dissolve the Assembly and order election. Terrified 
at the thought of facing the electorate, there was a sudden 
volte-face on the part of the members who favoured the Bills. 
The mover of the Bills Ranga Iyer was deeply hurt and came 
up heavily on C. Rajagopalachari stating that he had gone back 
“like a crab”. He added: “Had they gone on with the Temple- 
Entry Bill or the Untouchable question, they would have lost 
many votes, for it is not a popular issue and, therefore, “they 
have run away for their own convictions and playing every 
trick to come back to the Legislature with as large a number 
as possible.” 

Against this background, two great stalwarts-Mahatma 
Gandhi and Babasaheb Ambedkar-met at Yeravada Prison 
on February 4, 1933. 

(For the details of the meeting between Dr. Ambedkar 
and Gandhiji see Section II under the title “Dr. Ambedkar - 
Mahatma Gandhi Meetings. — Editors.) 

After this meeting Dr. B. R. Ambedkar issued a statement 
wherein he expressed his views regarding the Temple Entry 
Bill. Following is the statement: 

Statement on Temple Entry Bill 
14th February, 1933 

“What was the attitude of the Untouchables to this movement 
for Temple entry ? I was asked by Mr. Gandhi to lend my 


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196 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

support to the movement for Temple entry. I declined to do so 
and issued a statement on the subject to the Press. As it will 
help the reader to know the grounds for my attitude to this 
question I have thought it well to set it in full. Here it is ! 

Although the controversy regarding the question of Temple 
Entry is confined to the Sanatanists and Mahatma Gandhi, 
the Depressed Classes have undoubtedly a very important 
part to play in it, in so far as their position is bound to 
weigh the scales one way or the other when the issue comes 
up for a final settlement. It is, therefore, necessary that 
their viewpoint should be defined and stated so as to leave 
no ambiguity about it. 

To the Temple-Entry Bill of Mr. Ranga Iyer as now drafted, 
the Depressed Classes cannot possibly give their support. The 
principle of the Bill is that if a majority of Municipal and 
Local Board voters in the vicinity of any particular temple 
on a referendum decide by a majority that the Depressed 
Classes shall be allowed to enter the temple, the Trustees or 
the Manager of that temple shall give effect to that decision. 
The principle is an ordinary principle of Majority rule, and 
there is nothing radical or revolutionary about the Bill, and if 
the Sanatanists were a wise lot, they would accept it without 
demur. 

The reasons why the Depressed Classes cannot support a 
Bill based upon this principle are two : One reason is that the 
Bill cannot hasten the day of temple-entry for the Depressed 
Classes any nearer than would otherwise be the case. It is true 
that under the Bill, the minority will not have the right to 
obtain an injunction against the Trustee, or the Manager who 
throws open the temple to the Depressed Classes in accordance 
with the decision of the majority. But before one can draw 
any satisfaction from this clause and congratulate the author 
of the Bill, one must first of all feel assured that when the 
question is put to the vote there will be a majority in favour 
of Temple Entry. If one is not suffering from illusions of any 
kind one must accept that the hope of a majority voting in 
favour of Temple-Entry will be very rarely realised, if at all. 
Without doubt, the majority is definitely opposed to-day — a 
fact which is conceded by the author of the Bill himself in 
his correspondence with the Shankracharya. 


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What is there in the situation as created after the passing 
of the Bill, which can lead one to hope that the majority 
will act differently ? I find nothing. I shall, no doubt, be 
reminded of the results of the referendum with regard to the 
Guruvayur Temple. But I refuse to accept a referendum so 
over weighted as it was by the life of Mahatma Gandhi as 
the normal result. In any such calculations, the life of the 
Mahatma must necessarily be deducted. 

Secondly, the Bill does not regard Untouchability in 
temples as a sinful custom. It regards Untouchability merely 
as a social evil not necessarily worse than social evils of other 
sorts. For, it does not declare Untouchability as such to be 
illegal. It’s binding force is taken away, only, if a majority 
decides to do so. Sin and immorality cannot become tolerable 
because a majority is addicted to them or because the majority 
chooses to practise them. If Untouchability is a sinful and an 
immoral custom, then in the view of the Depressed Classes 
it must be destroyed without any hesitation even if it was 
acceptable to the majority. This is the way in which all 
customs are dealt with by Courts of Law, if they find them 
to be immoral and against public policy. 

This is exactly what the Bill does not do. The author 
of the Bill takes no more serious view of the custom of 
Untouchability than does the temperance reformer of the 
habit of drinking. Indeed, so much is he impressed by the 
assumed similarity between the two that the method he 
has adopted is a method which is advocated by temperance 
reformers to eradicate the evil habit of drinking, namely, by 
local option. One cannot feel much grateful to a friend of 
the Depressed Classes, who holds Untouchability to be no 
worse than drinking. If Mr. Ranga Iyer had not forgotten 
that only a few months ago Mahatma Gandhi had prepared 
himself to fast unto death if Untouchability was not removed, 
he would have taken a more serious view of this curse and 
proposed a most thoroughgoing reform to ensue its removal 
lock, stock and barrel. Whatever its shortcomings may be 
from the stand point of efficacy, the least that the Depressed 
Classes could expect is for the Bill to recognise the principle 
that Untouchability is a sin. 


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198 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

I really cannot understand how the Bill satisfies Mahatma 
Gandhi, who has been insisting that Untouchability is a 
sin ! It certainly does not satisfy the Depressed Classes. 
The question whether this particular Bill is good or bad, 
sufficient or insufficient, is a subsidiary question. 

The main question is : Do the Depressed Classes desire 
Temple Entry or do they not ? This main question is being 
viewed by the Depressed Classes by two points of view. 
One is the materialistic point of view. Starting from it, 
the Depressed Classes think that the surest way for their 
elevation lies in higher education, higher employment and 
better ways of earning a living. Once they become well placed 
in the scale of social life, they would become respectable 
and once they become respectable the religious outlook of 
the orthodox towards them is sure to undergo change, and 
even if this did not happen, it can do no injury to their 
material interest. Proceeding on these lines the Depressed 
Classes say that they will not spend their resources on such 
an empty things as Temple Entry. There is also another 
reason why they do not care to fight for it. That argument 
is the argument of self-respect. 

Not very long ago there used to be boards on club doors 
and other social resorts maintained by Europeans in India, 
which said “Dogs and Indians” not allowed. The temples of 
Hindus carry similar boards today, the only difference is 
that the boards on the Hindu temples practically say : “All 
Hindus and all animals including dogs are admitted, only 
Untouchables not admitted.” The situation in both cases 
is on a parity. But Hindus never begged for admission in 
those places from which the Europeans in their arrogance 
had excluded them. Why should an Untouchable beg for 
admission in a place from which he has been excluded by 
the arrogance of the Hindus ? This is the reason of the 
Depressed Class man who is interested in his material 
welfare. He is prepared to say to the Hindus, “to open 
or not to open your temples is a question for you to 
consider and not for me to agitate. If you think, it is 
bad manners not to respect the sacredness of human 


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KALARAM TEMPLE ENTRY MOVEMENT 199 

personality, open your temples and be a gentleman. If you 
rather be a Hindu than be gentleman, then shut the doors 
and damn yourself for I don’t care to come.” 

I found it necessary to put the argument in this form, 
because I want to disabuse the minds of men like Pandit 
Madan Mohan Malaviya of their belief that the Depressed 
Classes are looking forward expectantly for their patronage. 

The second point of view is the spiritual one. As 
religiously minded people, do the Depressed Classes desire 
temple entry or do they not ? That is the question. From the 
spiritual point of view, they are not indifferent to temple 
entry as they would be, if the material point of view alone 
were to prevail. But their final answer must depend upon 
the reply which Mahatma Gandhi and the Hindus give to 
the question namely : What is the drive behind this offer 
of temple entry? Is temple entry to be the final goal of the 
advancement in the social status of the Depressed Classes 
in the Hindu fold ? Or is it only the first step and if it is 
the first step, what is the ultimate goal ? Temple entry as a 
final goal, the Depressed Classes can never support. Indeed 
they will not only reject it, but they would then regard 
themselves as rejected by Hindu Society and free to find 
their own destiny elsewhere. On the other hand, if it is only 
to be a first step in the direction they may be inclined to 
support it. The position would then be analogous to what is 
happening in the politics of India to-day. All Indians have 
claimed Dominion Status for India. The actual constitution 
will fall short of Dominion Status and many Indians will 
accept it. Why ? The answer is that as the goal is defined, 
it does not matter much if it is to be reached by steps and 
not in one jump. But if the British had not accepted the 
goal of Dominion Status, no one would have accepted the 
partial reforms which many are now prepared to accept. 
In the same way, if Mahatma Gandhi and the reformers 
were to proclaim what the goal which they have set before 
themselves is for the advancement of the Social Status of the 
Depressed Classes in the Hindu fold, it would be easier for 
the Depressed Classes to define their attitude towards Temple 


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Entry. The goal of the Depressed Classes might as well 
be stated here for the information and consideration of all 
concerned. What the Depressed Classes want is a religion, 
which will give them equality of social status. To prevent 
any misunderstanding, I would like to elaborate the point 
by drawing a distinction between social evils which are the 
results of secular causes and social evils which are founded 
upon the doctrine of religion. Social evils can have no 
justification whatsoever in a civilised society. But nothing 
can be more odious and vile than that admitted social evils 
should be sought to be justified on the ground of religion. The 
Depressed Classes may not be able to overthrow inequities to 
which they are being subjected. But they have made up their 
mind not to tolerate a religion that will lend its support to 
the continuance of these inequities. 

If the Hindu religion is to be their religion, then it must 
become a religion of Social Equality. The mere amendment 
of Hindu Religious Code by the mere inclusion in it of a 
provision to permit temple entry for all, cannot make it a 
religion of equality of social status. All that it can do is to 
recognize them as national and not aliens, if I may use in this 
connection terms which have become so familiar in politics. 
But that cannot mean that they would thereby reach a position 
where they would be free and equal, without being above or 
below any one else, for the simple reason that the Hindu 
religion does not recognise the principle of equality of social 
status : on the other hand it fosters inequality by insisting 
upon grading people as Brahmins, Kshatrias, Vaishyas 
and Shudras, which now stand towards one another in an 
ascending scale of hatred and descending scale of contempt. 
If the Hindu Religion is to be a religion of social equality 
then an amendment of its code to provide temple entry is 
not enough. What is required is to purge it of the doctrine 
of Chaturvarna. That is the root cause of all inequality and 
also the parent of the Caste System and Untouchability, 
which are merely forms of inequality. Unless it is done not 
only will the Depressed Classes reject Temple Entry, they 
will also reject the Hindu faith. Chaturvarna and the Caste 
System are incompatible with the self-respect of the Depressed 
Classes. So long as they stand to be it cardinal doctrine the 
Depressed Classes must continue to be looked upon as low. 


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The Depressed Classes can say that they are Hindus 
only when the theory of Chaturvarna and Caste System is 
abandoned and expunged from the Hindu Shastras. Do the 
Mahatma and the Hindu reformers accept this as their goal 
and will they show the courage to work for it ? I shall look 
forward to their pronouncements on this issue, before I decide 
upon my final attitude. But whether Mahatma Gandhi and 
the Hindus are prepared for this are not, let it be known once 
for all that nothing short of this will satisfy the Depressed 
Classes and make them accept Temple Entry. To accept 
temple entry and be content with it, is to temporise with evil 
and barter away the sacredness of human personality that 
dwells in them. 

There is, however, one argument which Mahatma Gandhi 
and the reforming Hindus may advance against the position 
I have taken. They may say : “acceptance by the Depressed 
Classes of Temple Entry now, will not prevent them from 
agitating hereafter for the abolition of Chaturvarna and Caste. 
If that is the view, I like to meet the argument right at this 
stage so as to clinch the issue and clear the road for future 
developments. My reply is that it is true that my right to 
agitate for the abolition of Chaturvarna and Caste System will 
not be lost, if I accept Temple Entry now. But the question is 
on what side will Mahatma Gandhi be at the time when the 
question is put. If he will be in the camp of my opponents, 
I must tell him that I cannot be in his camp now. If he will 
be in my camp he ought to be in it now. 

B. R. Ambedkar.” 

“Almost all the Depressed Class leaders of Dr. Ambedkar’s 
persuasion, endorsed the views of their leader. Srinivasan, 
Premtai and Malik upheld the views of their leader. 

Gandhi issued a statement in reply in which he stated : “I 
am a Hindu, not merely because I am born in the Hindu fold, 
but I am one by conviction and choice. There is no superiority 
or inferiority in the Hinduism of my conception. But when 
Dr. Ambedkar wants to fight Varnashram itself, I cannot be 
in his camp, because I believe Varnashram to be an integral 
part of Hinduism.” ** 

1 : Keer, P. 230. 

* Comment on Temple Entry Campaign See Appendix-VI. 


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202 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Regarding the above mentioned Satyagraha Dr. Ambedkar 
explained his stand in the following letter addressed to 
Bhaurao Gaikwad. 


My dear Bhaurao, 

I am in receipt of your letter of the 23rd Feb. It is very 
kind of you to have asked me for my views on the propriety 
of the Depressed Classes launching upon a Satyagraha at 
the Kala Ram Temple in Nasik on the coming Ram Navami 
Day. I have no position in saying that such a move would be 
quite uncalled for and should not merely be suspended but 
should be stopped altogether. This may appear strange and 
surprising coming as it does from one who was the author 
of the Satyagraha. But I am afraid to declare this change of 
front. I did not launch the temple entry movement because I 
wanted the Depressed Classes to become worshippers of idols 
which they were prevented from worshipping or because I 
believed that temple entry would make them equal members 
in and an integral part of the Hindu Society. So far as this 
aspect of the case is concerned I would advise the Depressed 
Classes to insist upon a complete overhauling of Hindu Society 
and Hindu theology before they consent to become an integral 
part of Hindu Society. I started temple entry Satyagrha only 
because I felt that was the best way of energising the Depressed 
Classes and making them conscious of their position. As I 
believe I have achieved that purpose I have no more use for 
temple entry. I want the Depressed Classes to concentrate 
their energy and resources on politics and education and I 
hope that they will realise the importance of both. 


Accordingly the Satyagraha was stopped immediately. 
— Editors 


BHIMRAO R. AMBEDKAR, 

M. A., Ph. D., D. Sc, 
Barrister-at-law., J. P., M. L. C. 


Rajgriha Colony. 
Dadar, Bombay 14. 


3-3-34 


Your sincerely, 
Sd/-B. R. Ambedkar.” 1 


Khairmode, Vol. 3; Pp. 357-358. 


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KALARAM TEMPLE ENTRY MOVEMENT 203 

“WHY NASIK TEMPLE SATYAGRAHA 
WAS GIVEN UP 

“No Longer Needed” 

Nasik, November 19, 1934 

Before a mammoth gathering of over 15,000 members 
of the Depressed Classes who assembled at Vinchur on 
the occasion of the 11th day death ceremonies of the late 
Mr. Dhondiba Runkhambe of Vinchur. Dr. Ambedkar made 
an important political pronouncement. He said he had 
been repeatedly asked why the Kalaram Temple Entry 
Movement had been suspended for the last two years. 
The only reason, he explained was that such a move was 
no longer needed. This, he said, may appear strange and 
surprising, coming as it did from the author of the temple 
entry Satyagraha. 

The Temple Entry Movement, he explained, was started 
because he felt that was the best way of energizing the 
Depressed Classes and making them conscious of their 
position. He believed that: he had achieved that purpose 
and therefore he had no more use for temple entry. 

Instead he strongly advised the Depressed Classes to 
concentrate their energy and resources on politics. Since 
in the coming Reforms they would be called upon to play 
an important part in moulding their own political future 
and, thus, their own standard. 

Concluding, he paid warm tributes to the Nasik Temple 
Entry Satyagrahis who he said, had not only awakened 
their brethren and made them realise their true position 
in Hindu Society but had also aroused deep sympathy 
towards the Depressed Classes throughout the civilised 
world. He also stressed the necessity of educating their 
children.” 1 


The Times of India, 21st November 1934. 


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204 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Dr. Ambedkar has expressed his views on this subject 
in his book What Congress and Gandhi have done to 
the Untouchables’ wherein he says, 

“Here was an opportunity for Mr. Gandhi to advance his 
Anti-Untouchability campaign. He could have proposed that if 
a Hindu wishes to enroll himself as a member of the Congress 
he should prove that he does not observe Untouchability and 
that the employment of an Untouchable in his household 
should be adduced in support of his claim in this behalf 
and that no other evidence would be allowed to be tendered. 
Such a proposal could not have been impracticable for almost 
every Hindu, certainly those who call themselves high Caste 
Hindus, keeps more than one servant in his household. If 
Mr. Gandhi could make the Hindu accept spinning and boycott 
as franchise for membership of the Congress he could also 
make acceptable the employment of an Untouchable in a 
Hindu household a franchise for membership of the Congress. 
But Mr. Gandhi did not do it. 

After 1924 till 1930 there is a complete blank. Mr. Gandhi 
does not appear to have taken any active steps for the removal 
of Untouchability or got himself interested in any activity 
beneficial to the Untouchables during his period. While 
Mr. Gandhi was inactive the Untouchables had started a 
movement called the Satyagraha movement. The object of 
the movement was to establish their right to take water from 
public wells and to enter public temples. The Satyagraha at the 
Chawdar Tank situated in Mahad, a town in the Kolaba District 
of the Bombay Presidency, was organised to establish the right 
of the Untouchables to take water from public watering places. 
The Satyagraha at the Kala-Ram Temple situated in Nasik, 
a town in the Nasik District of the Bombay Presidency, was 
organised to establish the right of the Untouchables to enter 
Hindu temples. There were many minor Satyagrahas. These 
were, however, the two principal ones over which the efforts 
of the Untouchables and their opponents, the Caste Hindus, 
were concentrated. The din and noise caused by them were 
heard all over India. Thousands of men and women from the 
Untouchables took part in these Satyagrahas. Both men and 
women belonging to the Untouchables were insulted and beaten 


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KALARAM TEMPLE ENTRY MOVEMENT 205 

by the Hindus. Many were injured and some were imprisoned 
by Government on the ground of causing breach of the peace. 
This Satyagraha movement went on for full six years when it 
was brought to a close in 1935 at a Conference held in Yeola 
in Nasik District in which the Untouchables as a result of 
the adamantine attitude of the Hindus in refusing to give 
them equal social rights resolved to go out of the Hindu 
fold. This Satyagraha movement was no doubt independent 
of the Congress. It was organised by the Untouchables, led 
by the Untouchables and financed by the Untouchables. Yet 
the Untouchables were not without hope of getting the moral 
support of Mr. Gandhi. Indeed they had very good ground 
for getting it. For the weapon of Satyagraha — the essence of 
which is to melt the heart of the opponent by suffering — was 
the weapon which was forged by Mr. Gandhi, and who had 
led the Congress to practise it against the British Government 
for winning Swaraj. Naturally the Untouchables expected 
full support from Mr. Gandhi to their Satyagraha against 
the Hindus the object of which was to establish their right 
to take water from public wells and to enter public Hindu 
temples. Mr. Gandhi however did not give his support to 
the Satyagraha. Not only did he not give his support, he 
condemned it in strong terms. 

In this connection reference may be made to two novel 
weapons for redressing human wrongs. Mr. Gandhi claims 
exclusive credit for forging and perfecting them. First is 
Satyagraha. Mr. Gandhi has put into action this weapon of 
Satyagraha many a times against the British Government for 
the removal of political wrongs. But Mr. Gandhi has never 
used the weapon of Satyagraha against Hindus to get them 
to throw open wells and temples to the Untouchables. Fasting 
in another weapon of Mr. Gandhi. It is said that there have 
been altogether 21 fasts to the credit of Mr. Gandhi. Some 
were for the sake of Hindu-Muslim unity and quite a number 
as atonements for the immoralities committed by the inmates 
of his Ashram. One was against the order of the Government 
of Bombay refusing to give the work of a scavenger in the 
goal to a prisoner by name Mr. Patwardhan although he 
demanded it. In these 21 fasts there is not one undertaken 
for the removal of Untouchability. These are very significant 
facts. 


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206 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

In 1930 came the Round Table Conference. Mr. Gandhi 
joined the deliberations of the Conference in 1931. The 
Conference was concerned with a vital question of framing a 
constitution for a self-governing of India. It was unanimously 
held that if India was to be a self-governing country then 
the government must be a government of the people, by the 
people and for the people. Everybody agreed that only when 
a government is in a real sense a government by the people 
that it could be a government of the people and for the people. 
The problem was how to make it a government by the people 
in a country rent into communities, majorities and minorities, 
who are charged not merely with social cleavages but also with 
social antagonisms. Having regard to these circumstances it 
was agreed that in India there was no possibility of government 
by the people unless Legislature and the Executive were 
framed on the basis of communal representation. 

The problem of the Untouchables loomed large at the 
Conference. It assumed a new aspect. The question was : 
Should the Untouchables be left as they were to the tender 
mercies of the Hindus or should they be given the means 
to protect themselves by extending to them the principle of 
communal representation ? The Untouchables strongly objected 
to be left to the pleasure of the Hindus and demanded the 
same protection as was given to the other minorities. The 
contention of the Untouchables was accepted by all. It was 
just and logical. They contended that the chasm between the 
Hindus and Muslims, between Hindus and Sikhs, between 
Hindus and Christians is nothing as compared with the 
chasm between the Hindus and the Untouchables. It is the 
widest and the deepest. The chasm between the Hindus and 
the Muslims is religious and not social. That between the 
Hindus and the Untouchables is both religious and social. The 
antagonism arising out of the chasm existing between Hindus 
and Muslims cannot spell political disaster to the Muslims 
because the relationship between the Hindus and the Muslims 
is not that of master and slave. It is one of mere estrangement. 
On the other hand, the chasm between Hindus and the 
Untouchables must spell political disaster for the Untouchables 
because the relationship between the two is that of master 
and slave. The Untouchables contended that the attempts 


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KALARAM TEMPLE ENTRY MOVEMENT 207 

to close the gap between them and the Hindus by means of 
social process had been tried for ages. They had all failed. 
There was no hope of their success. Since power is being 
transferred into the hands of the Hindu majority they must 
have political safeguards of the same sort as, if not better, 
than those conceded to the Muslims and other minorities. 

Here was an opportunity to Mr. Gandhi to show his 
sympathy to the Untouchables by lending his support to their 
demand and thereby strengthen their power of resistance 
against the tyranny and oppression of the Hindus. Instead 
of showing his sympathy, Mr. Gandhi used every means in 
his power to defeat them. He made a pact with the Muslims 
with a view to isolate the Untouchables. Failing to win the 
Musalmans to his side, he went on a fast unto death to 
compel the British Government to withdraw their decision to 
give to the Untouchables the same political rights as given 
to the Muslims and other minority communities. When the 
fast failed and Mr. Gandhi was obliged to sign a pact — called 
the Poona Pact — which conceded the political demands of the 
Untouchables he took his revenge by letting the Congress 
employ foul electioneering tactics to make their political rights 
of no avail.” 1 

• • 


1 : Writings and Speeches, Vol. 9, Pp. 246-249. 


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SECTION V 

OTHER MOVEMENTS 


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1 

I AM A MAN OF CHARACTER 

“Subhedar Ramji Maloji, father of Bhimrao Ambedkar passed 
away on February 2, 1913. Bhimrao Ambedkar was now left to stand 
on his own feet. His insatiable thirst for knowledge and the spur 
of ambition made him restless. He was now in no mood to return 
to his job in Baroda. His short stay there had been unhappy. At 
last another chance came his way in June 1913. The Maharaja of 
Baroda*, at this juncture, thought of sending some students to the 
U.S.A for higher studies at Columbia University.” 1 

“While H. H. Maharaja was at Bombay, Bhimrao met him at the 
Malbar Hill Palace in order to apprise him of the inconvenience faced 
by him in service and residental facilities while at Baroda. H. H. 
Maharaja was already knowing almost everything about Bhimrao. 
Without mentioning a single word about the inconvenience faced 
by Bhimrao, H. H. Maharaja was discussing various subjects with 
him. Bhimrao gave his considered opinion on whatever questions the 
H. H. Maharaja asked. After about half an hour discussion the 
H. H. Maharaja asked him to come tomorrow at the same time. 
Since H. H. Maharaja did not speak anything about the complaints 
Bhimrao had made felt unhappy. 

The Next day, H. H. Maharaja asked which subject would he 
like to study. Bhimrao replied, Sociology, Economics and especially 


Public Finance. 


H. H. Maharaja : 

: What will you do by studying these 
subjects ? 

Bhimrao 

: The study of these subjects would give me 
clues for improving the depressed condition 
of my society and I shall undertake the 
work of social reforms on those lines. 

H. H. Maharaja : 

: (Laughingly) But you are going to serve us, 
is’t it ? Then how are you going to study, 
serve and also do the social service ? 


* His Highness Maharaja Sayajirao Gaikwad was born on March 1, 1863. 
His coronation took place on December 28, 1881. The Maharaja breathed 
his last on February 6, 1939, at his Jai Mahal Palace in Bombay. 

Keer, Pp. 24-26. 


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212 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 


Bhimrao : 

If H. H. Maharaja gives me due opportunity, 
I shall manage to do all the things. 

H. H. Maharaja : 

I have been thinking on the same lines. I 
am thinking sending you to America will 
you go? 

Bhimrao : 

Yes Sir. 

H. H. Maharaja : 

Now you can go. Send an application of 
foreign proposed study to our Academic 
Officer asking for a scholarship and inform 
me accordingly.” 1 


“He advised him to apply for one of the scholarships which 
his State had advertised. He did so, and the Maharaja decided 
to send Bhimrao along with three other students for higher 
education. Bhimrao was called to Baroda. On June 4,1913, 
he signed an agreement before the Assistant Minister for 
Education of the Baroda State, agreeing to devote his time 
to studying the prescribed subjects and to serve for ten years 
the Baroda State after completion of his studies.” 2 

The Memorandum of Agreement is as follow: 

“Memorandom of Agreement made the fourth of June 
1913, between the Government of His Highness the Gaekwad 
of Baroda, on the one part, and Mr. Bhimrao R. Ambedkar, 
B. A., an inhabitant of Baroda* on the other part. 

It is agreed between the Government of His Highness the 
Maharaja Gaekwad and Bhimrao R. Ambedkar as follows : — 

(1) Mr. Ambedkar Bhimrao R. undertakes to proceed 
to America to be trained up Finance and Sociology in 
the Columbia University, New York, and to obtain the 
Master’s degree in Economics, Finance and Sociology, 
staying there for a period of two years or more as may 
be hereafter considered necessary. During the period he 
shall stay under general supervision of Dr. H. C. Pumpus. 

b Khairmode, Vol. 1, Pp. 63-64. 

2 : Keer, P. 26. 

* Should be ‘Bombay’ See Appendix VII for other details also. 


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I AM A MAN OF CHARACTER 213 

(2) Mr. Bhimrao Ambedkar will not devote any time to the 
study of other subject or subjects to the detriment of his study 
of those mentioned in the agreement without the consent of 
His Highness’ Government. 

(3) He shall submit quarterly reports of his conduct and 
progress to the Minister of Education, Baroda State, through 
the Educational Authorities under whom he may be studying 
or through Dr. H. C. Pumpus under whose care he may be 
placed and shall abide by the insrtuctions that may be sent 
to him from time to time. 

(4) He will receive before departure Rs. 500 for his outfit. 

(5) For his onward journey from Bombay to America His 
Highness’ Government will provide second class passage by a 
French or German Steamer. He will also be provided with the 
same for the return journey, if he returns after successfully 
finishing the subject or subjects as mentioned in clause I or 
if he is compelled by sickness to return, under a Medical 
Certificate, before the completion of his studies. He will also 
receive second class railway and boat fare and actual expenses 
for bona-fide journeys made in connection with his studies. 

(6) Mr. Ambedkar will receive from the date of his starting 
from Bombay an allowance of £ 230 ( two hundred and thirty 
pounds) per annum, and in addition the Government will pay 
all expenditure. 

— Incomplete — one Page missing — 

A. C. Joshi 
Bhimrao R. Ambedkar 
(on Eight Annas Stamp) 

Signed and attested before me this day on fourth of 

June 1913. 

G.M. Shah 

Assistant Minister of Education, 
Baroda State. 

On behalf of Government.” 1 


J : Rattu : Little known facts of Dr. Ambedkar, Pp. 227-228. 


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214 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

“Expenditure incurred on behalf of Mr. B. R. Ambedkar* 

IN AMERICA 


Rs. 

As. P. 


1,373 

12-0 

Outfit, 3 month’s scholarship from 15-6-13 and 
Railway fare from Baroda. 

5900-0 


Passage 

3,828 

0-0 

Scholarship from 15-9-13 to 14-6-14 and books, 
fees, etc. Bill No. 843/25-4-14 

6,912 

3-7 

Scholarship from 15-6-14 to 14-9-15 and books, 
fees, etc. Bill No. 898/28-7-16 

3,651 

7-10 

Scholarship from 15-9-15 to 14-6-16 and books, 
fees, etc. Bill No. 1831/31-3-18 

IN ENGLAND 

4,078 

9-8 

Scholarship from 15-6-16 to 14-6-17 Bill No. 
1831/31-5-18 educational expenses and passage.” 

20,434-0-6 



“The Baroda State officials in their flaming zeal to guard 
the interests of the Maharaja and to control the finances 
of the State, took extraordinary steps in insisting on the 
repayment of the scholarship amount of Rs. 20,434.05p. * 2 by 
Dr. Ambedkar, without, however, the knowledge of Maharaja. 

Dr. Ambedkar was, no doubt, committed to repay the money 
the Baroda State had spent on his behalf for prosecuting 
studies abroad but situated as he was he had not sufficient 
money to live on much less to spare anything to his credits. 
Under the circumstances he expressed his inability to return 
the money spent by the State much as he wished to do. As 
such he humbly requested the Baroda State Government 
officials to give him time till he was in a position to pay 

* For other details, see Appendices VII, VIII and IX 
Rattu: Little known facts of Dr. Ambedkar, P. 229 

2 : Slight difference between two figures-Editors. 


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I AM A MAN OF CHARACTER 215 

Dr. Ambedkar’s letter to Mr. Pandit, on the Baroda State 
Government’s move to file a suit for the recovery of the 
amount. Written in his own magnificient way and style give 
a very interesting reading. The same is reproduced verbatim : 

Private Damodar Hall. 

B. R. Ambedkar Parel, Bombay 

9 - 12-1924 


Dear Mr. Pandit, 

Thank you very much for your letter of the 6th instant. 
I have very carefully noted the contents of the same. If 
you had seen my previous correspondence with the Baroda 
Government you would not have found much necessity 
to remind me of my obligations to the State. For, I have 
written to them many a times that whatever be the 
legal relations between me and the Baroda State I hold 
myself bound to pay the money the State has spent on 
my behalf. And believe me that if I had the money with 
me here and now I would have discharged my obligations 
without a moment’s delay. For I long to feel that I am 
free to say that I want to say regarding the treatment 
the Baroda Government has given to me and of which 
you seem to be entirely unaware. But situated as I am I 
have not sufficient to live on much less to spare anything 
to my credits. You say that I am now “established” in 
Bombay and that you don’t see any difficulty why I 
should not fulfil my obligations. It is rather difficult to 
understand what you mean by the word “established”. 
If you mean that I am earning by heaps I am sorry to 
tell you that you are entirely mistaken. You seem to 
forget that I am only a Barrister struggling to get work. 
First of all there is the fact that I am only year old 
in practice. Secondly there are all the caste prejudices 
which are rampant in this profession and which I have 
to face at every step in my onward march. The struggle 


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216 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

for me is the bitterest possible and I am therefore 
obliged to take things lying very low indeed. Under the 
circumstances I am for the present unable to return the 
money spent by the State much as I wish to do. If the 
Baroda Government interprets my inability to pay as 
an unwillingness to pay then the way for them is to go 
to Court, get a decree and execute it if they think that 
it will be really to their advantage. It may be true that 
if matters go to court then the name of the community 
will suffer. On the other hand it is my belief that if the 
community were to know as it will in the course of the 
suit the way in which I have behaved towards the Baroda 
Government, I am sure there will be nothing which it 
shall have to be ashamed of on my account. On the other 
hand I have no doubt that in the mudslinging that will 
follow the contemplated suit some mud will stick to His 
Highness and to the Baroda State of which both shall 
have to be ashamed. 

Of course it will be better if all this were avoided. 
But the only way in which it can be avoided is by the 
Baroda Government giving me time till I am in a position 
to pay. The Baroda Government don’t seem to know me 
sufficiently well. I have once shown them that I am a 
man of character. If I had not had sufficient character I 
would never have returned at Baroda. I had immeasurable 
offers to enter British service who would have thrown 
them away except by a man of character ? They only know 
me as an independent fellow. But they forget it is only a 
man of character who can be independent. 

Be that as it may I hope you will understand that 
I am most anxious to meet my obligations to the State 
and if I cannot do it immediately it is only because I 
am hard up. The moment I am in easy circumstances 
you may depend upon it that I will commence to repay. 
More than this I cannot for the present say or do. My 
real object which I have disclosed to repay it to the 
University of Bombay and to request the University to 


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I AM A MAN OF CHARACTER 217 

establish Scholarships for Depressed Class boys out of that 
sum in the name of the Maharaja of Baroda. The money was 
spent on me as a member of the Depressed Classes and in 
my view it should not go to the private use of the State but 
should be utilized for the benefit of the Depressed Classes. 
But as the State has been acting in such a commercial way 
I submit I do not think it would appreciate my plan. 

With this I leave it to you to judge between me and the 
Baroda State. 

I have not misunderstood the spirit in which you have 
written to me and I trust you will not misunderstand the 
spirit in which I have replied to you. 

Hoping to hear from you occasionally. 

I am, 

Yours sincerely, 

(B. R. Ambedkar)” 1 

• • 


•4 Rattu : Little known facts of Dr. Ambedkar, Pp. 21-24. 


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2 

INSTEAD OF A STATUE, A PUBLIC 
LIBRARY WILL BE THE BEST MEMORIAL 
OF SIR MEHTA 

“This is the earliest letter of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar sent for 
publication while he was a student of Columbia University, 
New York, U.S.A. in 1916. A proposal to erect a statue of 
Sir Pherozshah Mehta was mooted in the city of Bombay to 
be erected in front of the Municipal Office. Dr. Ambedkar 
having learnt this through the newspapers, considered it a 
most trivial form of memorial of a great man. According to 
him the memorial should have utility to the society especially 
for spreading the knowledge. He, therefore, proposed a 
memorial in the form of a public library in memorium of Sir 
Pherozshah Mehta. This letter may be found instructive and 
guiding even to-day to the Indian people who have craze for 
erecting statues of illustrious personalities.” 1 — 

“The Late Sir Pherozshah Mehta 

To, 

The Editor of ‘The Chronicle’ 

Sir, 

You will agree with me when I say that in a country like 
India so badly situated socially, economically and politically, 
the paramount need of the hour is for honest leaders to take 
upon themselves the enormous task of regeneration. Such 
leaders were found in the persons of the late Messrs Gokhale 
and P. M. Mehta, both of whom were entitled to everlasting 
gratitude for the zeal and sacrifice with which they represented 
our cause. Their identification with the people and the latter’s 
repose in them were so complete that their sudden death 
seemed for a while as though it was all nature’s trick. 

It is to their lasting credit that they grappled with many of our 
problems, solved a few of them and left the rest for us to face. But 
our feelings for the work done by them have completely set aside 
our feelings of the future work to be done by us- so much is our 
devotion to them. And it is quite natural that we should be more 
concerned about raising fitting memorials for those who have 


1 : Lokrajya : Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Special Number, April 16, 1981, P.33. 


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INSTEAD OF SIR MEHTA 219 

unremittingly exerted themselves in our behalf than about 
meeting the problems that confront us to-day. 

The Indian papers so far to hand indicate that the memorial 
of Mr. Gokhale is to take the form of establishing branches 
of the Servants of India Society at various places, while that 
of Sir P. M. Mehta is to stand in the form of a statue before 
the Bombay Municipal Office. 

Permit me to say that individually I regard this particular 
form of Sir P. M. Mehta memorial to be very trivial and 
unbecoming to say the least. 

I have been at pains to understand why his memorial 
cannot be in a form which will not only be a true memorial 
of him, but will be of permanent use to posterity. 

As combining these two purposes, I would suggest that in 
my humble opinion the memorial of Sir P. M. Mehta should 
be in the form of a public library in Bombay to be called “Sir 
Pherozshah Mehta Library.” 

It is unfortunate that we have not as yet realized the value 
of the library as an institution in the growth and advancement 
of a society. But this is not the place to dilate upon its virtues. 
That an enlightened public as that of Bombay should have 
suffered so long to be without an up-to-date public library is 
nothing short of disgrace and the earlier we make amends 
for it the better. 

There are some private libraries in Bombay operating 
independently by themselves. If these ill-managed concerns be 
mobilized into one building, built out of the Sir P. M. Mehta 
memorial fund and called after him, the city of Bombay shall 
have achieved both these purposes. As to the funds for the 
purchase of books and management of the library on modern 
lines, I trust there will be many generous souls to endow it. 

As a student in one of the biggest universities of the 
U.S.A. I am thoroughly convinced of the place a library has 
in the intellectual and social development of a people and 
being painfully conscious of its lack in the city of Bombay, I 
take this opportunity of urging on the Bombay public of what 
I think can be the fittest and, most lasting memorial of the 
greatest hero of modern Indian history. 


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220 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Being 10,000 miles away from India it takes time to get 
home-news. Consequently, I am a little late in submitting my 
proposal, but better late than never. 

Yours etc. 

Bhimrao R. Ambedkar 

Livingston Hall, Columbia University, 
New York City, U.S.A.” 1 


• • 


J : Bombay Chronicle : Tuesday, 28th March, 1916. 

Reprinted in Lokrajya : Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Special Number April 
16, 1981, Pp. 33-34. 


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3 

PUBLIC BODIES SHOULD HELP CANVASSER 

This is an authority letter of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar issued 
to a Canvasser-Editors. 

| | Jai Bhavani | | 

Bhimrao R. Ambedkar, 

M.A., Ph. D., D. Sc, 

Bar-at-Law. 

Member, Legislative Council, 

Bombay. 

This is to certify that the bearer Shankardas Narayandas 
Barve is a worker of the Bahishkrit Hitkarini Sabha, an 
organization established for the uplift of the Depressed Classes 
and a canvasser for the ‘Bahishkrit Bharat’ a paper which 
stands for safeguarding the interests of the Depressed Classes. 

His duty is to travel from place to place in the presidency 
in the cause of the Depressed Classes to deliver lectures and 
exhort them to strive for their betterment. It is requested 
that, the public bodies should help him as far as possible. 

Sd./- B.R. Ambedkar . 1 

• • 


Damoder Hall, 
Pareal, Bombay, 
4 - 7 - 1927 . 


J : Khairmode, Vol. 6, Pp. 217-218. 


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4 

BHAURAO PATIL’S INSTITUTION 
DESERVES SUPPORT 

This is a remark made by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar in the 
Visit Book of the hostel run by the institution of the Great 
Social Reformer and Educationist Karmavir Bhaurao Patil at 
Satara — Editors. 

“I am extremely happy to have been able to pay this visit 
to the Hostel. It is an unique institution and deserves support 
of every man who cares for the best interests of this nation. 
Every credit is due to my friend Bhaurao Patil. I am paying 
Rs. 20/- to this institution. 


Satara: 

29-07-1928 Sd./- B. R. Ambedkar.” 1 


• • 


1 : Khairmode, Vol. 4, P. 14. 


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5 

COMPLAINT AGAINST ME IS 
ABSOLUTELY UNFOUNDED 

“Denies Statement alleged to have been made before 
Commission. 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar has sent us a lengthy statement from 
which we take the following material points : — 

My attention is drawn to the statement appearing in your 
issue of 6th instant in which the President of the Sholapur 
Municipality has given publicity to the resolution of the 
Municipality strongly repudiating the implied suggestion in 
my evidence to the statement that the grant to the Depressed 
Classes Hostel at Sholapur was stopped as a repercussion of 
Hindu-Moslem riot and explaining the facts that led to the 
stoppage, of the grant 

The complaint against me seems to be based upon the 
supposition that, in the course of my evidence before the Simon 
Commission, I stated that the grant given to the Depressed 
Classes Hostel at Sholapur was deliberately discontinued by 
the Municipality because the Depressed Classes of Sholapur 
had refused to help the Higher Class Hindus during the 
Hindu-Moslem riots in 1925 which the Municipality holds is 
an untrue statement 

My reply to the statement by the Municipality is that its 
complaint against me is absolutely unfounded and is based 
upon a deliberate misreading of my evidence 

I am sure, every fair-minded man would agree that in 
my evidence I have never stated that the grant was stopped 
because the Depressed Classes refused to aid the Caste Hindus 
in the Hindu-Moslem riot. On the contrary I have clearly 
stated that I did not know what the cause was 

I wish the Municipality had stopped with vilifying 
me for the implication that, it thinks, arises from the 
statement made by me on the course of my evidence. It 
goes a step further and tries to give what it considers 
to be the true reasons for the stopping of the grant 


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224 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

to the Hostel. The statement says that the President “noticed 
serious irregularities in the subscription book and called for 
account books and the Society having refused the grant was 
stopped.” I am sorry to have to use strong language but I 
must state that all these statements are issues of untruth 
for which there is no mitigation. 

Now the real facts are these : — The Hostel at Sholapur 
was opened in 1925. The Municipality gave a grant from 
the commencement of the Hostel. For the two years 1925 
and 1926 the grant was paid regularly without any hitch. 
There was no inspection nor was there any examination 
of the accounts of the institution. The Municipality was 
satisfied with the audited accounts of the institution. But 
the attitude of the Municipality, which came into existence 
after the elections in 1927 and particularly of the President, 
Dr. V. V. Mulay, underwent a complete change. It so happened 
that the Chairman of the School Board paid a surprise visit 
to the Institution in the beginning of the year, 1927, in the 
course of which he inspected the hostel and examined the 
accounts. As usual he wrote out his remarks in the Visit 
Book stating that the accounts were kept in the best manner 
possible. The copy of the said remarks was forwarded by the 
Superintendent to the President. 

But that gentleman, instead of being pleased, showed by 
his subsequent conduct as though his plan was foiled by the 
favourable remarks of the Chairman of the School Board. For, 
immediately afterwards he demanded from the Superintendent 
by his letter dated 19th March 1927 to produce the accounts 
of the institution for the years 1925 and 1926. To this a reply 
was sent by the Superintendent that the old books of account 
were sent to the Head Office in Bombay and were destroyed 
after the close of the year and that the books of the current 
year were available and were offered for examination. 

In the meantime the Municipality appointed a Sub-Committee 
consisting of Mr. Buwalal Vakil, Vice-Chairman of the School 
Board and Mr. Shivlal Appa Deshmukh, Member of the School 
Board to examine the accounts. This Committee composed of the 


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COMPLAINT UNFOUNDED 225 

President’s men who were far from being well disposed to 
the institution, after examining the accounts reported on 2nd 
May 1927 that the accounts were kept in the best possible 
manner and that they could say nothing against the Hostel. 
The report was submitted to the Municipality. 

Such a favourable report by his own men against an 
institution which he intensely disliked instead of changing 
the attitude of the President only served to exasperate him 
so much so that he still insisted upon producing books of 
accounts for the past years of 1925 and 1926. He was given 
from the Head Office the only reply that could be given 
namely that the old books of accounts of the Society are 
examined by auditors whose certified accounts are submitted 
and should be accepted and that current accounts are open 
for inspection to the Municipality at any time. Thereafter 
the Administrative Officer of the Municipality examined the 
accounts and certified that there was nothing wrong about 
them. This seems to have put the President to shame. For, 
thereafter he gave up his demand for producing the old 
books of accounts and intimated to the Superintendent that 
he would be content if the account books of the current year 
were produced before him. This was done and the President, 
I am glad to say, could find nothing against the institution. 
Disappointed at every stage to disqualify the institution on 
the ground of mismanagement the President at the time of 
the last budget meeting of the Municipality brought forth 
the proposal that the grant to the institution be stopped. 
But the allegations he then made against the institution 
were known to be false and malicious and were treated by 
the Municipal Councillors with the contempt they deserved 

All except one Councillor united in sanctioning the 

grant over the head of the President. It will thus be seen that 
far from the grant having been discontinued, the Municipality 
has in fact sanctioned the grant in its budget holding the 
allegation of its own President unworthy of belief. What 
has really happened is that the President after the grant 
was sanctioned refused to pay it out on the ground that the 
reply of the Society regarding the showing of accounts was 
not satisfactory. 


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226 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Now I don’t understand how the reply of the Society can 
be deemed to be unsatisfactory. The Society has always been 
ready to show the accounts of the current year. Regarding 
the production of accounts of the past years, the reply given 
by the Society is the only reply that can be given. For who 
on earth can produce books of years past ? The demand is 
not only unreasonable but is perverse and can be met by 
no Society. From this, every fair minded man will see how 
the Municipality and its President in trying to expose, be 
it remembered, not a lie, in fact, but an implied lie have 
ended in giving publicity to issues of lies unmiligated by any 
extenuating circumstances whatsoever 

Damodar Hall, B. R. AMBEDKAR” 1 

Parel, December 8, 1928. 


• • 


1 : The Indian National Herald, dated 10th December 1928. 


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6 

FORWARDING LETTER 

BHIMRAO R. AMBEDKAR 
M.A., Ph.D., D. Sc, 

Barister-at-law, 

J.P..M.L.C. 

Dear Sir, 

Your special correspondent in India wrote to me that you 
wanted a statement of my views on the Report of the Joint 
Parliamentary Committee on Indian Reforms for publication 
in the Manchester Guardian. In accordance therewith, I am 
sending alongwith this a statement of my views. I am sorry, 
I have not been able to compress my statement within 1200 
words prescribed by you and the statement exceeds the limit 
by about 300 words. In view of the importance of the subject 
and the necessity of complete clarity, I have to make a special 
request to let the statement appear in full without curtailment. 

Thanking you for the same. 

I remain, 


RAJGRIHA 
NEW DADAR, 
BOMBAY- 14 


Yours faithfully, 
B. R. Ambedkar 


To, The Editor, Manchester Guardian. 


• • 


Surwade, Vol. 1, Pp. 146-47 
Date is not available. 


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7 

PAY MORE ATTENTION TO ECONOMIC, 
EDUCATIONAL AND SOCIAL 
IMPROVEMENT RATHER 
THAN TEMPLE ENTRY 

“Poona, October 18, 1932 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar came to Poona yesterday and spent 
some time in the Legislative Council but did not disclose to 
anybody the fact that he had been given permission to visit 
Mr. Gandhi in Yeravda Jail. In the evening, however, he made 
use of this permit and spent almost an hour and a half with 
Mr. Gandhi. Letter he left for Sawantwadi on professional 
business. He will return to Bombay on October 26 and hopes 
to sail for England on November 7. 

Dr. Ambedkar is of opinion that the Round Table Conference 
will not begin before November 22 as it will be impossible 
for many delegates to be present in London by November 12. 
While it is difficult to draw a line between politics and social 
welfare in the present situation between Caste Hindus and 
the Depressed Classes, it is understood that politics proper 
were banned under the terms of the permit and that therefore 
the Poona Pact was not dealt with to any extent. 

Dr. Ambedkar, however, placed before Mr. Gandhi his views 
on the future constitution of the Anti-Untouchability League, 
its Provincial and District Committees and its general progress. 
He took up the matter of the composition of the committees 
and expressed very firmly his opinion that there should be 
a majority of Depressed Classes people on these committees. 
He was of opinion that their voice must be predominant and 
that nothing must be done which might prove unpalatable 
to them. If the uplift work was to proceed satisfactorily the 
Caste Hindus must assist the Depressed classes people to 
work out their own salvation and not attempt to uplift them 
by inducing them to follow the ideals of the Caste Hindus in 
every way. 


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PAY MORE THAN TEMPLE ENTRY 229 

Special Census 

He also drew Mr. Gandhi’s attention to the proposal of 
the League to arrange for a special census of the Depressed 
Classes people in India and pointed out to the Congress leader 
that such a proceeding was unnecessary. 

Mrs. Sarojini Naidu was present during the interview 
and Mr. Gandhi and those who met Dr. Ambedkar after 
the interview appear to have received the impression that 
Mr. Gandhi favoured Dr. Ambedkar’s proposal regarding the 
composition of the Anti-Untouchability League Committees. 

Mr. Gandhi is “perfectly fit” according to the latest news 
from Yerawda and Dr. Ambedkar has told his friends that 
the Congress leader is full of life and is completely restored 
to normal health. 

ECONOMIC INEQUALITIES 
Dr. Ambedkar’s Advice to his Community 

“There certainly is a general slackening off in the Anti- 
Untouchability Movement,” said Dr. Ambedkar in an interview. 
“But, as the movement only dealt with the spectacular removal 
of the ban against Untouchables entering temples and with 
inter-dining, I am greatly perturbed over this fact. That with 
spectacular certainty, they caused much ill-feeling between 
the people and brought them no substantial advantage. 

“The attention of the Anti-Untouchability League and 
workers in the same cause should be directed more to 
the economic, educational and social improvement of the 
Untouchables rather than to temple entry and inter-dining. 
Public opinion should be mobilised by them to throw open 
wells and to admit Untouchable children to public schools.” 

Referring to Belgaum district where a request had been 
received from the Depressed Classes people themselves for 
the constrution of a separate well, he said that the Board 
should not grant such a request. Untouchables should insist 
on their right to draw water from the general public wells. 
He suspected that in this case there might be some interested 
party influencing them .” 1 

• • 


1 : The Times of India, dated 19th October 1932. 


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8 

NOTHING CAN EMANCIPATE THE 
OUTCASTES EXCEPT THE 
DESTRUCTION OF CASTE SYSTEM 

“Mahatma Gandhi started newspaper named ‘Harijan’ on 
February 11, 1933, to propogate the cause of the Untouchables. 
Dr. B. R. Ambedkar on this occasion stated.” 1 

“I cannot give a message.” 2 

“The out-caste is a by-product of the caste system. There 
will be outcastes as long as there are castes. Nothing can 
emancipate the outcastes except the destruction of caste 
system. Nothing can help Hindus and ensure their survival 
in the coming struggle except the purging of Hindus faith of 
this odious and vicious dogma.” 

“In reply Gandhi said that many educated Hindus held 
this view; but he was not able to share it.” 3 “Untouchability is 
the product not of the caste system, but of the distinction of 
high and low, that has crept into Hinduism and is corroding 
it. The attack on Untouchability is an attack upon this high 
and lowness.” 4 

• • 


1 : Keer, P. 227 

2 : Kuber, B. R. Ambedkar, P.47 

3 : Keer, P. 227 

4 : Kuber, B. R. Ambedkar, P.47 


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9 

DEPRESSED CLASSES AGAINST SECOND 
CHAMBERS 

Dr. Ambedkar on Joint Parliamentary Committee 
Report Provision for Better Representation 
Demanded 

“While it is a matter of great satisfaction to me and to 
the Depressed Classes that the Poona Pact has not been 
disturbed by the Joint Parliamentary Committee. I must point 
out that the Depressed Classes have been unjustly treated 
by the changes introduced by the J. P. C. in the matter of 
representation in the Provincial Second Chambers and in the 
Upper Chamber of the Federal Assembly”. Thus writes Dr. B. R. 
Ambedkar in a statement of his views on the Joint Select 
Committee’s report in so far as it relates to the Depressed 
Classes. 

Dr. Ambedkar continues : — 

The Depressed Classes opposed the establishment of 
the Second Chambers in the Provinces. They were deemed 
unnecessary under the Montague- Chelmsford reforms. They 
were not recommended by the Simon Commission. They are 
condemned by all the political organisations of India. In the 
opinion of the Depressed Classes they constitute a retrograde 
step and will prove a hindrance to the progress of the country. 

The Composition 

The second ground of the opposition of the Depressed 
Classes to the Second Chambers arises from the Composition 
of these Second Chambers. It is obvious that in some of the 
Provinces in which Second Chambers are instituted, is there 
any seat reserved for the Depressed Classes? Special provision 
is made for the representation of Muslims, Europeans and 
Indian Christians in these Provincial Second Chambers. But 
in no Province is any such provision made for the Depressed 
Classes. The Depressed Classes of Bombay, Madras, and the 
United Provinces are left to get such representation as they 
can out of the general seats in a straight election fight with 
High Caste Hindu candidates. 


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232 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

If there was any chance of the Depressed Classes winning 
seats in an open fight against Caste Hindu candidates there 
would have been no necessity for the Poona Pact. It is therefore 
obvious that there will be no representatives of the Depressed 
Classes in the Second Chambers in these Provinces. In Bengal 
and Bihar it is provided that 27 out of 65 in the former and 
12 out of 30 in the latter will be elected, by the method of 
the single transferable vote, by members of the Provincial 
Lower House. 

Insufficient Seats 

This opens up a possibility for the Depressed Classes in 
these two Provinces to secure representation in the Second 
Chambers. On a closer study of the facts it will, however, be 
clear that in Bihar there will be no probability because the 
depressed classes seats in the Provincial Lower House (15 in 
152) will not be sufficient to give them the necessary quota, 
and in Bengal 30 in a house of 250 will hardly give them a 
quota for one seat. 

Not only will there be no seat for the Depressed Classes 
in any of the Provincial Second Chambers, but on account 
of the franchise, they will not be able even to influence the 
elections to the Second Chambers. 

Need of Reserved Seats 

The J. P. C. seems to have given no thought to these 
adverse effects, its proposals were calculated to produce on 
the representation of the Depressed Classes in the Second 
Chambers. In connection with its franchise proposals the 
committee observes that “the qualifications above indicated 
will also apply to candidates, but special provision may be 
necessary in the case of women and the Depressed Classes.” 
That special provision will be necessary is beyond doubt. But 
what I wish to point out is that a differential qualification 
in favour of the Depressed Classes’ candidate will be of no 
avail if the franchise of the voters remains uniform. Indeed, 
differential qualification in favour of Depressed Classes’ 
voters will not help them to win in elections unless seats are 
reserved for them. 

The Position of the Depressed Classes in regard to their 
representation in the Federal Upper House has also undergone a 
complete change for the worse. Under the White Paper proposals the 


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DEPRESSED CLASSES SECOND CHAMBERS 233 

electorates for the Federal Upper House was the 
Provincial Lower House and the elections were to be by 
the proportional system and the method of the single 
transferable vote. As in the Provincial Lower Chambers, 
the Depressed Classes were represented in sufficiently 
large numbers to give them the necessary quota to get one 
member of their own class elected at any rate in eight or 
nine Provinces, the Depressed Classes were sure of eight 
or nine seats in the Federal Upper House. This prospect 
has now been completely destroyed by the change in the 
system of election to the Federal Upper House proposed 
by the J.P.C. 

Electoral Colleges 

As I have pointed out, there will be no representatives of 
the Depressed Classes in the Provincial Second Chambers, 
which are to serve as electorates to the Federal Upper 
House in those Provinces where the legislatures are 
bicameral. Turning to the proposed electoral colleges in the 
Provinces, which will be unicameral, and examining their 
composition, it will be seen that there are no provisions for 
special electoral colleges for the Depressed Classes as there 
are for Sikhs and Muslims. Nor is any special provision 
similar to that made for Indian Christians, Anglo-Indians, 
and Europeans. 

In regard to the constitution of special electoral colleges 
in unicameral Provinces the committee observes “The 
question of special provisions for the Depressed Classes 
among the General Seats requires special consideration 
especially in relation to the Central Provinces. 

If special provision is necessary for the Depressed 
Classes of the Central Provinces why is special provision 
not necessary for the Depressed Classes in other unicameral 
Provinces? And if special provision is necessary for 
Depressed Classes in the Unicameral Provinces why is not 
special provision necessary in bicameral provinces ? The 
condition of the Depressed Classes is the same all over 
the country and it cannot be said that the position of the 
Depressed Classes in the Central Provinces is worse than 
that of their fellows in other parts of the country. 


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234 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Against Vital Interests 

In omitting thus to provide for their representation has 
J.P.C. acted against the vital interests of the Depressed 
Classes ? I would like to remind His Majesty’s Government 
that the consent of the Depressed Classes to the transfer of 
power to Indians was conditional upon adequate provision being 
made for their representation in the legislatures of the country 
under the new constitution. I had made this abundantly clear 
in my speech as the representative of the Depressed Classes at 
the Plenary Session of the First Round Table Conference. This 
omission to provide for the representation of the Depressed 
Classes in the Second Chambers, Provincial and Federal, is 
also contrary to the considered views of all those who have 
dealt with the problem. 

I am sure that the sentiments of the Prime Minister on 
which the Depressed Classes have been relying were intended 
to be earned out in the framing of the new constitution, but 
the J. P. C. failed to respect these sentiments, with the result 
that the interests of the Depressed Classes in the matter 
of representation in the Second Chambers, Federal and 
Provincial, have been flagrantly neglected. I must, therefore, 
say that it would not be possible for the Depressed Classes to 
give their support to the scheme of reforms, and I hope that 
His Majesty’s Government will modify the proposals of the 
J.P.C. so as to safeguard the interests of the Depressed Classes 
in the matter of representation in the Second Chambers, 
Federal and Provincial. I am sorry to say that it would not 
be possible for the Depressed Classes to give their support to 
the scheme of reform if these proposals stand as they are .” 1 

• • 


J : The Times of India, dated 15th January 1935. 


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10 

REMOVE BASIS OF ‘SMRITI’ RELIGION 

Nasik, November 28. 

“Owing to the lowering of franchise the Caste Hindu 
masses will secure the real power under the new constitution 
but they are opposed to social reform. They will be extremely 
unwilling to change the existing custom and usage. My 
grievance is especially against them and not against the social 
reformers. Even the Congress candidates will not be able to 
win the elections if they declare that, if elected, they will 
enact legislation for abolishing Untouchability. I challenge 
the Congress to seek election on this mandate.” 

The above is the gist of the interview between Dr. Ambedkar 
and the deputation, elected by the Nasik Progressive Hindus 
at a meeting held on October 26, 1935. 

The Nasik Progressive Hindus have now issued an 
authoritative statement summarising the interview. 

The deputation, says the statement consisting of five 
progressive Caste Hindus, headed by Mr. R. G. Pradhan, 
former M.L.C., waited upon Dr. Ambedkar at his residence 
on November 10 and the interview which lasted over three 
hours, was of a cordial, friendly and frank nature. 

Progressives’ Views 

At the outset, the deputationists placed before Dr. Ambedkar 
the following resolutions adopted by the Nasik Hindu 
Progressive Citizens in a conference presided over by Shri 
Shankaracharya (Dr. Kurtakoti). The resolution runs thus : 

(A) “The question regarding public temples, public places 
of pilgrimage and thirtas being extremely controversial and 
outside the sphere of immediate practical achievement, 
every possible effort should be made to bring about a 
change of public opinion with regard to that question. 

(B) Barring the above question except to the extent of 
bringing about a change of public opinion with regard to, 
continuance and unflinching efforts should be made both 


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236 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

individually and collectively by propaganda, constructive work 
and in other ways for securing for the Harijans, freedom to 
reside and settle in localities inhabited by non-Harijan Hindus 
for abolishing Untouchability in public places, such as wells, 
schools, dharamshalas and hotels and in general for doing 
away with Untouchability in the Hindu society with regard 
to all other matters.” 

Mr. Pradhan expressed the deputationists deep respect and 
love for Dr. Ambedkar and declared that they were anxious 
to solve the problem arising out of Dr. Ambedkar’s speech at 
Yeola with his cooperation and consultation. 

Mr. Pradhan said that they all desired to dissuade 
Dr. Ambedkar. from changing his religion, Mr. Pradhan conveyed 
Shri Shankaracharya’s deep affection for Dr. Ambedkar. 

“Remove Basis of ‘Smriti’ religion” 

Dr. Ambedkar’s Demand 

In the course of the interview, which lasted over three 
hours, Dr. Ambedkar said: “Whatever may be the metaphysical 
basis of a religion, those religious principles upon which depend 
the ethical system and the social practices of a people must be 
considered to be the principal element of that religion. Though 
Hinduism is based on the conception of Absolute Brahma the 
practices of the Hindu community as a whole are founded on 
the doctrines of inequality as pronounced in ‘Manusmriti’. 
Some people think that religion is not essential to society. I 
do not hold this view. I consider the foundation of religion to 
be essential to the life and practices of society. At the root 
of the Hindu Social System lies Dharma as prescribed in 
‘Manusmriti’. Such being the case I do not think it possible 
to abolish inequality in the Hindu Society unless the existing 
foundation of the ‘Smriti’ religion is removed and a better 
one laid in its place. I, however, despair of the Hindu Society 
being able to reconstruct on such a better foundation.” 

Referring to the position of Harijans in the coming 
constitution, Dr. Ambedkar said that the cause of removal of 
Untouchability and of social reform would not advance with 
the help of the legislatures under the new constitution. 


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REMOVE ‘SMRITT RELIGION 237 

About abjuring the Hindu religion, Dr. Ambedkar declared: 
“Personally, I have made up my mind to change my religion. 
I am not able to tell you today what other religion I will 
accept. But I do not intend to secure any personal gain by 
the change of religion. It is not a personal question and I 
desire to carry with me the whole Untouchable community 
at all events the majority of that community, I do not want 
it to be split up by some joining one religion or sect and 
other another. From the point of view of the interests to my 
community it is necessary that it should be united with and 
absorbed into some powerful and living community. It is my 
intention to make this movement for change of religion an all 
India one. If my community does not follow me then I will 
alone change my religion. This may take at least four or five 
years and you will have this period for doing what you can. 
Before the final decision is made we shall of course consider 
what success your efforts may have met with. I admit the work 
before you is tremendous. But if it cannot be accomplished 
except after a very long period we are not prepared to wait 
for such a length of time.” 

New Sect 

Referring to the offer made by Dr. Kurtakoti, regarding 
his creation of a new order and throwing it open to the 
Untouchables in common with others on equal footing and 
status, Dr. Ambedkar said : “I shall not undertake the 
responsibility of starting a new sect nor will I advise my 
community to join it. Let Dr. Kurtakoti start the sect if he 
so desires and let it spread among the ‘touchables’ and then 
we shall think over it. I cannot say today what the Harijans 
will think of it if it is established. Their attitude towards it 
will depend upon its numerical strength and upon the extent 
to which it will promote the uplift of the Harijan community. 
We shall consider whether to join it or not just as we may 
consider whether or not to join any other sect, but such a 
sect must be of a living religion 

There are some difficulties in the way of our accepting 
Buddhism. I think that the Harijan community should be 
completely absorbed into some powerful community. It has 
decided not to join the Arya Samaj. We shall consider the 
question of joining the Sikh religion. 


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238 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Referring to the attitude of Harijans towards the Harijan 
Sevak Sangh, Dr. Ambedkar declared : “The Harijan Sevak 
Sangh is not likely to advance the cause of the abolition of 
Untouchability. That Sangh is merely a wing of the Congress.” 

Dr. Ambedkar, continuing, said: “Democracy is not suitable 
to India and popular Government will not do for her. India 
wants a dictator, a Kemal Pasha or a Mussolini. I had hoped 
that Mr. Gandhi would attain the position of dictator, but 
I am disappointed. My complaint is not that Mr. Gandhi is 
a dictator, but that he is not. I feel the greatest respect for 
Kemal Pasha, it is he that has made Turkey into a powerful 
nation. If there are any people with whose religious sentiments 
and practices it is extremely risky to interfere, they are the 
Muslims. But Kemal Pasha has done it with success. Without a 
leader of the stamp of Kemal Pasha, there will be no salvation 
for India. But in the circumstances, it is impossible to get 
such a dictator in social and religious matters and hence I 
despair of the future of India.” 

Younger Generation 

Referring to the attitude of the younger generation and 
the Harijans Dr. Ambedkar is said to have declared: “I am 
not hopeful of the younger generation which seems to be more 
predisposed to pleasure seeking and not possessing much of 
idealism and is not likely to produce men of ideals, principles 
and actions like Ranade, Tilak or Gokhale. This also fills me 
with despair. 

“In brief, being born in the Untouchable community, I deem 
it my first duty to strive for its interest and my duty to India 
as a whole is secondary. I have strong religious sentiment 
according to my own conception of religion, but I have no faith 
in Hinduism and I hate hypocrisy. I have therefore, decided to 
renounce Hinduism, but I do not intend to do so immediately 
as I want to carry my community with me. The Harijan army 
is not marching today and it is watching and waiting for a 
suitable opportunity. In the meanwhile, the ‘touchables’ may 
go on making their efforts on the lines chalked out by you .” 1 

• • 


1 : The Times of India, dated 30th November 1935. 


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11 

HINDUS SHOULD NOT BE INDIFFERENT TO 
CONVERSION OF DEPRESSED CLASSES 

Regarding conversion, “Dr. B. R. Ambedkar consulted his 
colleagues from different provinces in the matter of choosing 
the proper religion for conversion. He had now decided 
to embrace Sikhism. His friends and colleagues felt that 
Dr. Ambedkar should seek the support of the Hindu Sabha 
leaders in their conversion to Sikhism; for, the Hindu Sabha 
leaders believed that Sikhism was not an alien religion. It was 
an off- spring of Hinduism and therefore the Sikhs and the 
Hindus intermarried and the Sikhs were allowed to be members 
of the Hindu Mahasabha. 

Accordingly, Dr. Moonje, the spokesman of the Hindu 
Mahasabha, was invited to Bombay. In the presence of two other 
friends, Dr. Ambedkar had a talk with Dr. Moonje at Rajgriha, 
on June 18, 1936, at half past-seven that night. Dr. Ambedkar 
cleared all issues and had a free talk with Dr. Moonje. Next day 
the purport of Dr. Ambedkar’s views was reduced to a statement 
and was given to Dr. Moonje who approved of it personally.” 1 

The following is the statement: — 

The Hindus cannot afford to be indifferent to the movement 
of conversion which is gaining ground among the Depressed 
Classes. It would undoubtedly be the best thing from the 
standpoint of the Hindus if the Depressed Classes were to be 
persuaded to drop the idea of conversion. But if that is not 
possible, then the Hindus must concern themselves with the 
next move which the Depressed Classes will take, because their 
move is bound to have serious consequences upon the destiny 
of the country. If they cannot be persuaded to stay, the Hindus 
must help if they cannot lead them, to embrace a faith which 
will be least harmful to the Hindus and to the country. 

It seems very unlikely that the Depressed Classes will 
formulate a new religion. Most probably, they will embrace one 
of the existing faiths. At any rate the Hindus can well proceed 
on that assumption. The first question is what is the faith that 
the Depressed Classes are likely to embrace? Obviously, the 
one most advantageous to them. 


H Keer. P. 277. 


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240 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

There are three faiths from among which the Depressed 
Classes can choose. (1) Islam, (2) Christianity and(3) Sikhism. 
Comparing these three, Islam seems to give the Depressed 
Classes all that they need. Financially, the resources behind 
Islam are boundless. Socially, the Mohammedans are spread 
all over India. There are Mohammedans in every Province and 
they can take care of the new converts from the Depressed 
Classes and render them all help. Politically the Depressed 
Classes will get all the rights which Mohammedans are 
entitled to. Conversion to Islam does not involve loss of such 
political rights as the right to special representation in the 
Legislatures, right to services, etc. Christianity seems equally 
attractive. If Indian Christians are too small numerically 
to provide financial resources necessary for the conversion 
of the Depressed Classes, the Christian countries such as 
America and England will pour their immense resources in 
if the Depressed Classes show their readiness to embrace 
Christianity. Socially, the Christian community is numerically 
too weak to render much support to the converts from the 
Depressed Classes but Christianity has the Government behind 
it. Politically, Christianity will give them the same rights which 
Islam gives. Like the Muslims, Indian Christians are also 
recognised by the Constitution for special representation in the 
Legislature and in the services. Compared to Christianity and 
Islam, Sikhism has few attractions. Being a small community 
to forty lakhs, the Sikhs cannot provide the finance. They 
are confined to the Punjab and as far as the majority of the 
Depressed Classes are concerned, the Sikhs can give them no 
social support. Politically, Sikhism is at a positive disadvantage 
as compared with Islam or Christianity. Outside the Punjab, 
the Sikhs are not recognised for special representation in the 
Legislature and in the services. 

The second question is, looking at these three alternative 
faiths purely from the standpoint of the Hindus, which is the 
best — Islam, Christianity or Sikhism? Obviously Sikhism is 
the best. If the Depressed Classes join Islam or Christianity, 
they not only go out of the Hindu religion but they also go 
out of the Hindu culture. On the other hand, if they become 
Sikhs they remain within the Hindu culture. This is by no 
means a small advantage to the Hindus. 


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HINDUS DEPRESSED CLASSES 241 

What the consequences of conversion will be to the country 
as a whole is well worth bearing in mind. Conversion to Islam 
or Chistianity will denationalise the Depressed Classes. If they 
go to Islam the number of Muslims will be doubled and the 
danger of Muslim domination also becomes real. If they go 
to Christianity, the numerical strength of Christians becomes 
five to six crores. It will help to strengthen the hold of the 
British on this country. On the other hand, if they embrace 
Sikhism they will not harm the destiny of the country but 
they will help the destiny of the country. They will not be 
denationalised. On the contrary they will be a help in the 
political advancement of the country. Thus it is in the interest 
of the country that the Depressed Classes, if they are to 
change their faith, should go over to Sikhism. 

The third question is, if it is in the interest of the Hindus, 
that the Depressed Classes should go over to Sikhism, are 
the Hindus prepared to make Sikhism as good an alternative 
to the Depressed Classes as Islam or Christianity is? If they 
are, then obviously they must try to remove the difficulties 
which lie in the way of Sikhism, as compared with Islam 
and Christianity. The deficiencies are financial, social and 
political. The Hindus cannot help Sikhs to remove the social 
difficulty. But they can certainly help the Sikhs to remove 
the financial and political difficulties. Of these, it is most 
urgent to remove the political difficulty, because it might 
become an obstacle in the way of the Sikhs. The solution of 
the political difficulty is fortunately a very small matter. All 
that is necessary is to add to the list of Scheduled Castes 
in each Province, other than the Punjab, the word ‘Sikh’ as 
that of a person from the Depressed Classes who becomes a 
convert to Sikhism will not lose his political rights, that he 
would have had if he remained a Depressed Class. Under the 
Communal Award, communities have been given the liberty 
to agree to any change in the Award and the government 
has bound itself to alter the Award in accordance with the 
agreement. 

This change can, therefore, easily be brought about if the Hindus 
so desire by mutual agreement with the Depressed Classes. This 
does not involve any radical change in the Poona Pact. It does not 


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242 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

require any apportionment of seats. The seats assigned to 
the Depressed Classes under the Poona Pact will remain 
the same. The only change that will be introduced is that 
non-Sikh Depressed Classes and the Depressed Classes who 
have gone to Sikhism will both be free to compete. It merely 
removes a difficulty from the Depressed Classes who become 
Sikhs. 

Those Hindus who might oppose this suggestion must 
answer the following questions : 

1. The seats assigned to the Depressed Classes under 
the Poona Pact cannot come back to the Hindus. They will 
go to the Muslims or Christians if the Depressed Classes 
become Muslims or Christians because if by conversion of 
the Depressed Classes the population of the Muslims or 
Christians increases then the Muslims and Christians are 
bound to ask for increased representation in the legislature. 
Thus, if these seats are to go, why not allow these seats to 
go to the Sikhs ? 

2. If under the Constitution the Depressed Classes cannot 
lose political rights by becoming a Muslim or a Christian 
why should a Depressed Class on becoming a Sikh be 
made to lose his political rights? This is placing a premium 
on conversion to Islam and Christianity, and penalty on 
conversion to Sikhism. This is driving the Depressed Classes 
to the Muslim or Christian folds. Is it in the interest of the 
Hindus to allow this to be so? 

3. It may be that the Depressed Classes will not lose their 
political rights by becoming converts to Sikhism, because 
even under the Poona Pact the Scheduled Castes Order-in- 
Council, their rights to special representation is not made 
dependent upon their professing the Hindu religion. Their 
representation is made dependent upon their being members 
of certain castes and tribes. But why give the Sikhs cause 
for complaint and create bad blood against the Hindus? 

4. The proposal to add Sikhs to the list of Scheduled 
Castes in the different provisions for political recognition 
cannot be said to be strong proposal. On the other hand, 
not to give such a recognition would appear queer. 


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HINDUS DEPRESSED CLASSES 243 

If Sikhs in the Punjab can be recognised for political 
purposes, why should Sikhs in other provinces not be so 
recognised? 

If the Depressed Classes of the Punjab can not lose 
their rights on becoming Sikhs, why should the fate of the 
Depressed Classes in other Provinces on becoming Sikhs be 
made different?” 


• • 


For reaction on this statement by Dr. Moonje, Mr. Raja, Mahatma Gandhi 
and others see Appendix- X. — Editors. 


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12 

RIGHTS NOT AFFECTED IN THE EVENT OF 
CONVERSION 

“Talk of the possibility of the Depressed Classes having to 
forego their political privileges under the Poona Pact in the 
event of their leaving the Hindu Community is discounted 
by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, who regards it as a Congress stunt 
to frighten him and his party from contesting the elections. 

“I have evidence in my possession to show that it is a 
Congress stunt calculated to frighten me and my party from 
contesting the forthcoming elections and to coerce us into 
remaining within the Hindu fold.” 

This is Dr. Ambedkar’s reaction to the reports current in the 
city that the resolutions of the Yeola and Bombay conferences 
of the Depressed Classes and Dr. Ambedkar’s own declared 
intention to renounce Hinduism must militate against the 
enjoyment by the Depressed Classes of the privileges secured 
under the Poona Pact. 

Dr. Ambedkar is inclined to laugh at these reports as they 
are, in his opinion, based on ignorance of the constitutional 
position and of the provisions of the Communal Award as 
amended by the Poona Pact. 

The original provision of the Communal Award in respect 
of the Depressed Classes was that they should vote in the 
general constituencies, but in order to ensure adequate 
representation to them special seats were to be allotted to 
them the basis of this provision was a separate electroate for 
the Depressed Classes. 

The Poona Pact, briefly put, substituted joint electorates 
with the Hindu community for separate electorates for the 
Depressed Classes. In order to ensure that the representatives 
of the Depressed Classes carried the confidence of their 
community with them, a device for a primary election by the 
community itself was evolved; the electorate of the joint Hindu 
community was to make its choice from among the panel of 
four candidates for each seat selected by the voters on the 
list of the Depressed Classes. 


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RIGHTS NOT CONVERSION 245 

Poona Pact: Hindus’ Contention 

The main point urged by the Hindu community now is 
that the circumstances in which the Poona Pact was evolved 
presumed without doubt that the Depressed Classes would 
remain as part of the Hindu community. Mr. Gandhi’s fast, 
which was solely responsible for the Pact, was undertaken in 
order to prevent the dismemberment of the Hindu community, 
which it was feared would result from the allotment of a 
separate electorate to the Depressed Classes. 

It is argued that the Hindu community has made sacrifices 
under the Poona Pact and has surrendered some of the seats 
allotted to it under the original Award solely with the object 
of allaying the fears of the Depressed Classes and retaining 
them within the Hindu fold. 

Since then, however, a section of the Depressed Classes 
under the leadership of Dr. Ambedkar has resolved to renounce 
the Hindu faith. The Bombay Mahar Conference, for instance, 
resolved that after thorough consideration the conference: — 

(a) “declares that a change of religion is the only remedy 
for the Mahar community to attain equality and freedom, 

(b) “assures Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, their accredited leader, 
that the community is prepared to change its religion en 
masse, and 

(c) “urges on the Mahar community, as a preliminary step 
towards the change of religion, to refrain henceforth from 
worshiping Hindu deities to put a stop to the observance of 
Hindu festivals and to put a stop to visiting Hindu holy places.” 

Orthodox View 

This resolution, according to orthodox Hindu opinion, 
leaves no doubt as to the intentions of the Mahars vis-a-vis 
the Hindu community and they cannot therefore complain if 
they are denied the electoral privileges conceded to them by 
the Hindus on the implicit understanding that they would 
remain Hindus. 

In other words, as a Congress leader said recently, “they cannot 
have it both ways. Either they are Hindus and enjoy the privileges 


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246 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

under the Poona Pact, or they cease to be Hindus and forfeit 
those privileges.” 

Invited to explain the position from his point of view. 
Dr. Ambedkar, in an exclusive interview with a representative 
of The Times of India, repudiated the suggestion that the Hindu 
community had made any sacrifices to the Depressed Classes. 

“It is wrong to presume that the orthodox Hindus have 
surrendered any seats in favour of the Depressed Classes. 
In fact there is no such thing as a Hindu seat or a Hindu 
constituency, there is only a general constituency,” he said. 

According to Dr. Ambedkar, the constitution does not 
recognise a Hindu constituency, although there are separate 
constituencies for Muslims, Europeans, Anglo-Indians, Sikhs 
(in the Punjab), etc. The general constituency includes not only 
the Hindus, but also the Parsis, Jews, Jains, Buddhists and a 
number of other communities. The concessions, if any, granted 
to the Depressed Classes under the Poona Pact are from the 
general constituency and not from the “Hindu Constituency 
“for such a thing does not exist. It was not mentioned in the 
Communal Award nor in the Poona Pact, nor even in the 
Government of India Act, 1935, which is to govern the franchise 
and electoral procedure. 

Classification of Constituencies 

Too Late to Question Issue 

It is too late in the day, argued Dr. Ambedkar, to enter 
into the justification or otherwise of the classification of 
Constituencies adopted by the Government of India Act. “There 
it is and has to be followed. Even in the Punjab, where the 
Muslims are in a majority and the Hindus in a minority, the 
former have a separate electorate and the latter a general 
Constituency,” he added. 

Thus, Dr. Ambedkar maintains, it is” incorrect and 
mischievous to affirm that the Hindus have made a sacrifice, 
for it may well be said that the numerous other communities 
who comprise the general constituency have made the so-called 
concession to the Depressed Classes. 


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RIGHTS NOT CONVERSION 247 

The next important point made by Dr. Ambedkar is that 
religion has nothing to do with the political adjustments 
contemplated in the Communal Award, the Poona Pact 
and the Government of India Act of 1935, The Europeans 
constituency included Europeans, whatever their religious 
persuasion; so also the Anglo-Indians. It is only in regard to 
the Muslim Community that the political classification follows 
the religious grouping. Within the general constituency itself, 
there is no commonness of religious faith serving as the basis 
of the enjoyment of the political rights conferred on those who 
come under that electoral category. 

Franchise Adjustments 

In other words, franchise adjustments have been based on 
the membership of a community rather than adherence to any 
religious persuasion. The original classification of “Depressed 
Classes” has now been changed into “Scheduled Castes” and 
it refers only to a branch of a community, viewed socially and 
economically, not from the religious standpoint. 

Assuming for argument’s sake that there is an element 
of religion in these classification, renunciation of religion or 
declaration of loss or lack of faith in a set of tenets does not 
miliate against the enjoyment of any attendant political right, 
says Dr. Ambedkar. 

It may be a different matter if a member of the Depressed 
Classes gave up Hinduism and actually embraced another 
religion, say, Islam or Christianity. 

Then, and only after such conversion, will he come under 
the political group assigned to the adherents of such a religion; 
then and then only can he be compelled to forfeit the rights 
attaching to the membership of the Hindu Community. 

What if a Hindu is not an ardent believer in the Vedas ? 
asks Dr. Ambedkar. There are many Hindus in India today 
who are only Hindus in name and who do not observe the 
countless religious rites and formalities which go to make a 
Hindu. Do they cease to be Hindus on that account ? And; 
what is the standard by which one is to measure the extent 
of a Hindu’s faith in his religion ? 


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248 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Insistence of Rights 

Intention to leave a religious sect born of disgust with 
current practices or injustice does not sever one’s connection 
with the religion which he is nominally believed to profess. 

“Surely, not all the present day Christians are true 
Christians. What about the Sunday parades in Europe where 
people who do not believe in Christianity or are indifferent 
or are rationalists demonstrate in front of Churches on 
Sunday morning ? They, too, are nevertheless Christians in 
the eyes of the State. 

“You may call me a statutory Hindu if you like,” said 
Dr. Ambedkar humorously,” but I wilt insist on my political 
lights irrespective of the depth of my religious fervour.” 

To support his contention Dr. Ambedkar cites two 
instances from the Punjab, where two sections of Depressed 
Classes have been classified as “Scheduled Castes” in spite 
of the proved fact that they are not Hindus. The instances 
mentioned are those of Ac? Dharmis and Ramdasis. The first 
of these have gone out of their way formally to intimate 
to Government that they are not Hindus, and yet they 
have been classed under “Scheduled Castes” in the general 
constituency. 

The Punjab Census Report of 1931 says : 

“The most notable feature of the present census from the 
stand-point of return of religion has been the adoption of 
the term ‘Ad Dharmi’ by numberous Chamars and Shudras 
and other Untouchables. A new instruction to the religion 
was given this year, namely, ‘Persons returning themselves 
as Ad Dharmis should be recorded as such.’ 

“The Punjab Ad Dharmis Mandal had petitioned the 
Punjab Government before census operations started in 
1930, representing that the Depressed Classes should be 
permitted to return Ad Dharmis as their religion at the 
time of the census, as they were the oborigines of India and 
while the Hindus kept them at a respectable distance, they 
did not believe in the Hindu religion. The President of the 
Punjab Ad Dharm Mandal was informed that a clause was 


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RIGHTS NOT CONVERSION 249 

being provided in the Census Code requiring that persons 
returning their religion as Ad Dharm would be recorded as 
such. Ad Dharm literally means original or ancient religion.” 

A Negative Attitude 

According to Dr. Ambedkar, the dispute over the Ad 
Dharmi agitation became so serious that several murders were 
committed. However that may be, the Ad Dharmis have been 
classified as “Scheduled Castes” in the general constituency, 
notwithstanding their unequivocal declaration that they are 
not Hindus. 

In the case of himself and his followers, Dr. Ambedkar 
points out, the attitude is negative in respect of Hinduism 
and not yet positive adherence to any other faith. 

Similarly, the Ramdasis are Sikhs by religion, but they 
have been classified under “Scheduled Castes” in the general 
constituency. All of which, according to Dr. Ambedkar, 
goes to show that religion has nothing to do with electoral 
classifications have gone exactly contrary to the religious 
grouping. 

Thus, while Dr. Ambedkar does not recognise the Hindus’ 
right to complain or challenge the Depressed Classes’ privileges 
by virtue of the Poona Pact, he affirms that his community’s 
political rights are unaffected by intended or even impending 
renunciation of Hinduism .” 1 


• • 


1 : Times of India : dated 24th July 1936. 


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13 

CONVERSION MOVEMENT SANS 
SELFISH MOTIVE 

Dr. Ambedkar’s comments on Rao Bahadur M. C. 
Rajah’s statement against conversion of the Untouchables: 

At the outset I would like to say that to send this 
correspondence to the newspapers for publication, is 
in itself an indecent act on the part of Mr. Rajah. Dr. 
Moonje had clearly mentioned at the end of his letter 
that till the final decision regarding conversion, this letter 
might be treated as personal and confidential. It cannot 
be believed that this fact did not come to the notice of 
Mr. Rajah. Mr. Rajah should have sought the permission 
of Dr. Moonje before releasing the correspondence to the 
press. This act on the part of Mr. Rajah is ill-becoming 
of a decent man. 

The Untouchables may choose Sikhism for conversion. 
This fact is known to many of my Hindu friends and 
such members of the Untouchable community as are 
seriously interested in the question of conversion of the 
Untouchables. 

The correspondence regarding the possibility of the 
Untouchables embracing Sikhism, which took place 
between Rao Bahadur M. C. Rajah and Dr. Moonje has 
been published in the newspapers. I have gone through it. 

There is no reason for Rajah to rejoice that he had 
exposed some great secret of Dr. Ambedkar. I do not 
attach any importance to the letters of Mr. Rajah. In 
my opinion Rajah commands little respect among the 
Untouchable masses nor do his views regarding conversion 
have any worth or value. Had I felt that his views had 
any value at all, I would have co-operated with him to 
change his mind. 

Ignoring Rao Bahadur Rajah, Rao Bahadur Srinivasan 
and I were invited to the Round Table Conference to 
represent the Untouchables. This led to heart-burning 
and animosity against me in the mind of Rajah who has 
since then been constantly criticising and opposing me. 


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CONVERSION MOVEMENTS MOTIVE 251 

I am trying to serve my people. Mr. Rajah has been 
opposing me and finding fault with my work. At the same 
time he has developed the art of self-advertisement through 
the medium of newspapers. I do not attach much importance 
to this question but I fail to understand why the movement 
to renounce Hinduism and the desire on the part of the 
Untouchable masses to embrace any other religion launched 
by them should hurt Mr. Rajah ? If Mr. Rajah does not want 
to renounce the Hindu religion, nobody will force him to do 
so and for this reason he has no right to comment on it. 
Mr. Rajah says, “I will live as a Hindu and die as a Hindu.” He 
is quite free to do so. But 1 would like to tell him one thing, 
that in making use of his proficiency in issuing statements to 
press, he has been exhibiting his love for the Hindu religion 
but until he converts himself to some other religion he will 
continue to live as a ‘Pariah’ and die as a ‘Pariah’. He must 
bear in mind the fact that the stigma of Untouchability 
attached to him due to his caste is not likely to be effaced 
even a bit if he continues to remain within the Hindu fold. 
It is nonsensical to say that conversion should be done only 
for spiritual reasons. I would like to ask Mr. Rajah whether 
it is only for the reasons ‘spiritual’ that he wants to remain 
within the fold of Hinduism. If he has no ambition other than 
spiritual satisfaction why should he bother about the material 
and political benefits accruing from the reservation of seats 
in the legislature ? If he is so keen on living as a Hindu and 
dying as a Hindu, why does he aspire for reserved seats ? 

Mr. Gandhi and Mr. Malaviya, I believe, have no moral 
courage to say anything against the conversion of the 
Untouchables. They have failed to honour the promises they 
had made at the time of signing the Poona Pact. 

Mr. Gandhi says that he has failed to understand my 
stand; I would also say that it is difficult for me to understand 
his language and action. According to him, ‘upliftment of 
Untouchables is an independent question’. If this kind of 
language which is used by Gandhiji is used by one saint 
or another, perhaps, he can comprehend it better, but for 
an ordinary mortal like me, who is governed by ordinary 
principles of society in everyday life, this Mahatmatic language 
of Gandhi has no meaning. Gandhi says that religion is 


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252 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

not a commodity to be bartered. My reply is that it is not 
fair on the part of Gandhi to give expression to this kind 
of view at this distant date. At the time of the Poona Pact, 
Mr. Gandhi himself accepted the principle of give and take. 
Gone are the days when those who are struggling for achieving 
the basic human rights to satisfy their hunger and ordinary 
basic needs like bread and water could be hood-winked to 
live, merely for attaining spiritual peace. 

Gandhi says that the Untouchables are bartering away 
their religion, but he must bear in mind that the conversion 
movement has not been launched with any selfish motive or 
for any personal benefit. According to Gandhi, ‘Hindus should 
do (repentance) prayschit themselves and voluntarily endeavour 
to eradicate Untouchability. Untouchables themselves need 
not do anything for the removal of Untouchability and their 
own upliftment. The Untouchables should simply sit with 
folded hands and pray, ‘O’ ! Lord, grant the Hindus wisdom, 
and courage, and light, so that they may be forgiven for 
their evil deeds. Let their sins be forgiven and grant them 
the knowledge and strength to reform their society.’ This 
is the pious advice of Gandhiji to the Untouchables. These 
pious platitudes can do no good to anybody, nor can they 
solve any problems. No sane person can ever agree to such 
a proposal. This sounds more like the advice tendered by 
an idiot to the people living in an area effected by a plague 
epidemic. “Brothers, halt and listen to me ! Do not be afraid 
of the disease. The Municipal Committee members will have 
to repent one day for the dereliction of duty on their part; 
some plan will surely be chalked out for the eradication of the 
plague. Meanwhile, you must wait and see. Do not be in a 
hurry to leave home and hearth.” Whatever wisdom you find 
in this advice, the same kind of advice has been tendered by 
Gandhi to the Untouchables in his statements. 

Shri Rajagopalachari, it seems, has another fit of anger. 
This aged house-holder has developed a kind of indigestion 
owing to excessive use of acidic explitives which he is in the 
habit of coining. He has labelled this conversion movement 
as ‘satanic.’ 

If the Untouchables have been seriously thinking of embracing 
Sikhism, the followers of Hinduism should think for themselves 
and decide whether this step on the part of the Untouchables is 


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CONVERSION MOVEMENTS MOTIVE 253 

really satanic. I feel that those Hindus who feel concerned 
about the future of Hinduism must be wondering whether this 
great Hindu Brahmin Rajagopalachari, is really a man out of 
his senses to call conversion to Sikhism ‘satanic.’ 

In fact, if this accusation of being ‘satanic’ is to be 
levelled against any person, it is Dr. Moonje who without any 
respect for propriety published the personal and confidential 
correspondence. But I do not wish to say any more on this 
subject. 

Shankaracharya Dr. Kurtakoti, and other prominent Hindu 
leaders have favoured the idea of Untouchables embracing 
Sikhism. In fact, it is these leaders who have propagated the 
idea of Untouchables embracing Sikhism... and also prevailed 
on me to do so. I fell for the idea mainly because I too feel I 
have some responsibility towards the future of Hindu culture 
and civilisation. Hindus are free to decide, after reading my 
views about the correspondence published in the newspapers, 
whether the policy decided by Mr. Gandhi, Mr. Rajah and 
Mr. Rajagopalachari about the conversion of the Untouchables 
to Sikhism is of the advantage to Hindu Society or not. 

• • 


Statement of Dr. Ambedkar published in the Janata (Marathi) dated 
15th August 1936. 


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14 

THE INDEPENDENT LABOUR PARTY : 

A SOURCE FOR BETTERMENT OF THE 
DEPRESSED CLASSES 

On 14th January 1937, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar reached 
Bombay from London. The Journalist from Times of India had 
interviewed Dr. Ambedkar. The interview is as follows : Editors. 

Dr. Ambedkar said that he visited Europe purely for reasons 
of health and he stayed most of the time in Vienna and Berlin. 
He was in London only for a week. He had no conversation of 
a political nature with any one in London. 

Asked if he had come to any decision regarding his intention 
to leave the Hindu fold, he said that the decision still remained, 
although he had not finally made up his mind which new faith 
he should embrace. 

Dr. Ambedkar said that his immediate concern was 
the ensuing elections to the Bombay Legislative Assembly 
and he would devote himself to the election campaign. The 
Independent Labour Party, which he had started, would work 
for the betterment of the political and social condition of the 
Depressed Classes in the Legislature, and he was sanguine 
that all the candidates put up on behalf of his Party would 
come out successful in the elections. 

Dr. Ambedkar was given a rousing reception on arrival. 
More than a thousand Khaki-clad volunteers belonging to the 
Social Equity League lined up the entire route from Ballard Pier 
Station to Alexandra Dock No. 18, cheered him as he passed. 

Most of the candidates put up by the Independent Labour 
Party of which Dr. Ambedkar is the founder, for the ensuing 
elections to the Bombay Legislative Assembly were present on 
the wharf to meet him. Among them were B. K. Gaikwad (Nashik 
District), Mr. PrabhakarRoham (Ahmednagar), Mr. B. H. Varale 
(Belgaum), Mr. R. R. Bhole (Poona), Mr. B. J. Sawadkar, Mr. 
S. G. Tipnis (Kolaba), Mr. G. R. Ghatge (Ratanagiri), Mr. R. 
E. Bhatankar (Thana) and Mr. V. A. Gadkari. 1 

• • 


1 : The Times of India, dated 15th January 1937 
Reprinted : Khairmode, Vol. 7, Pp. 57-59. 


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15 

CIVIL LIBERTIES OF INDIANS 

“It is interesting that for him Untouchability and 
exploitation were a violation of civil liberties, not in the 
conventional sense, but because of the breach of the dignity 
of whole communities. His reply to the Secretary of the Civil 
Liberties Union, Dr. K. B. Menon, way back in June 1937, 
makes meaningful reading ; 

Bhimrao R. Ambedkar ‘Rajgriha’ 

M.A., Ph.D.,D.Sc, Dadar, Bombay - 14 

Barrister-at-Law. 8th June 1937 

Dear Mr. Menon, 

I am in receipt of your letter No. 998 of the 19th of May 
1937 and also your post card asking me to sign the manifesto, 
on behalf of the Indian Civil Liberties Union to be read as 
a message from India at the conference on civil liberties in 
India to be held in London. I did not know of your letter till 
I came to Bombay on the 25th May, and hence could not 
reply to it earlier. 

I have read the manifesto and I am sorry I cannot 
subscribe to it. You have condemned the Frontier Policy of 
the Government of India. I do not see how it can be a matter 
of Civil Liberties of Indians. On the other hand, you make no 
mention of the systematic tyranny and oppression practised by 
Caste Hindus against the Untouchables, which is undoubtedly 
a matter of Civil Liberties of Indians. 

Yours Sincerely, 
B. R. Ambedkar.” 1 


• • 


1 Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer, Exordium P. VII. 


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16 

IN ANY OTHER COUNTRY SUCH A MINISTER 
WOULD HAVE BEEN DISMISSED 

To the Editor, 

The Times Of India 

Sir, 

Following close upon the action of the Home Minister 
of Bombay in suspending the sentences passed upon two 
gamblers by the High Court; there comes the news of the 
action taken by the Home Minister of the C.P. in remitting the 
Sentences passed by the Court of the Judicial Commissioners 
upon a person by name Jaffer Hasan who was condemned 
to three years, rigorous imprisonment on a charge of rape 
upon a girl of 14 years. The conviction took place in 1936. 
The accused had only undergone one year’s imprisonment 
so that he has been given a remission of two years. 

I think that this act of the Congress Minister in the 
C. P. is a most shameless act, for which I can find no parallel. 
What does the Hindu public which is so blindly supporting 
the Congress, think of these acts ? 

I would not have troubled you with this letter if the 
matter concerned the Caste Hindus — not that it would not 
have been a grave thing if the girl was a Caste Hindu girl, 
but because the Hindus have cultivated a religious faith 
that no party other than the Congress and no man other 
than the Mahatma can bring them salvation ! They have 
placed their destiny in the hands of one party and have 
refused to examine the acts of those in whom they trust. 
If they come to grief, it is their fault. But the girl belongs 
to the Depressed Classes. She is Chambhar by caste. It is 
because of that I feel deeply concerned. We are destined to 
be in a minority. We can only criticise. We can never hope 
to control. 

What hope have the Depressed Classes of fair play and justice 
if such acts as those of the Home Minister in the C. P. are tolerated 
by the Hindu public, are endorsed by the Prime Minister and 


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IN ANY OTHER BEEN DISMISSED 257 


overlooked by the Mahatma ? I am sure in any other country 
such a Minister would have been dismissed. But, is this not 
to be expected in India? The Mahatma owes the Depressed 
Classes an explanation as to how he and his Prime Minister 
can justify this reprehensible act of their Minister. 

B.R. Ambedkar .” 1 


Bombay 


• • 


1 : The Times of India : Dated 19th March 1938. 


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17 

SOCIALISTS NOW INACTIVE 

“On his arrival in Bombay, on 21st May 1938 in the 
course of an interview, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar expressed great 
satisfaction at the growing support of the people to his Party 
and their grateful appreciation of his efforts towards abolishing 
their serfdom. 

He said that in its own way his Independent Labour Party 
was striving to redeem its election pledges, but if the Congress 
Ministry refused to give relief through constitutional methods, 
and if people’s faith in it was thus lost, the alternative was 
obvious. He, however, was surprised at the attitude of the 
Socialists, who, he said, had been all those years shouting for 
the confiscation of all Zamindari lands and the abolition of 
the capitalist system, but now inactive when a concrete Bill 
was brought forward to put an end to the Khoti system.” 1 


• • 


1 : Keer, P.310. 


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18 

LET SUCH INSTITUTIONS GROW INTO 
BIG LIBRARIES 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar’s remarks in the Visitor’s Book of the 
Raj wade Sanshodhan Mandal, Dhulia (Maharashtra) on 18th 
June 1938 — Editors : 

“As who has spent some six or seven years in various 
libraries of Europe and America I was greatly pleased to 
go round the collection of manuscripts and paintings of the 
Rajwade Sanshodhan Mandal. As compared with the European 
Libraries this of course is indeed a very small place. The 
responsibility for this, however, does not lie on those who 
have given birth to the institution. It is to be hoped that 
the new government will pay adequate attention to such 
institution and see that they grow into big libraries. I wish 
this institutions every success. 


18 6-1938 


Sd/B. R. Ambedkar 


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19 

A BILL TO CONTROL 
AND 

REGULATE MONEY-LENDING 
BY 

Dr. B. R. AMBEDKAR, 

M.A., Ph. D., D. Sc., Bar-at-Law. 


INDEPENDENT LABOUR PARTY 
PUBLICATIONS 
No. 2 


1938 


Price 1/-Anna 


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A BILL MONEY-LENDING 261 

Bill No. of 1938. 

A Bill to Control and Regulate Money-Lending 

Table of Contents 

CHAPTER I 
Preliminary 

Sec. 1 Short Title, Extent and Commencement. 

Sec. 2 Definitions 

Sec. 3 Provisions of the Act not affected by laws, 
customs or contracts. 

CHAPTER II 

Licensing of Money-lenders 

Sec. 4 Prohibition of Money-lending without license. 

Sec. 5 Name in which license to be taken out. 

Sec. 6 Particulars to be stated in the license. 

Sec. 7 Necessity for certificate for license. 

Sec. 8 Particulars to be stated in the certificate. 

Sec. 9 Authority competent to grant certificate. 

Sec. 10 Ground for refusing certificate 

Sec. 11 Recording of reasons for refusal. 

Sec. 12 Appeal against order of refusal. 

Sec. 13 Authority competent to grant licence. 

Sec. 14 Duration of license. 

Sec. 15 Fee for license. 

Sec. 16 Penalty for breaches of provisions regarding 
license. 

CHAPTER III 

Suspension and Revocation of License 

Sec. 17 Suspension etc. of license on conviction. 

Sec. 18 Appeal against order of suspension and revocation. 
Sec. 19 Production of license when directed by Court. 


This is the text of the Bill which gives details about money-lending. The 
Bill was prepared in the year 1938 — Editors 


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262 


Sec. 

Sec. 

Sec. 

Sec. 


Sec. 

Sec. 

Sec. 

Sec. 


Sec. 

Sec. 

Sec. 

Sec. 

Sec. 

Sec. 

Sec. 


Sec. 

Sec. 

Sec. 

Sec. 


DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

CHAPTER IV 

Mode of Carrying on Business 

20 Prohibition of advertisements etc. in respect of 
Money-lending. 

21 Prohibition against employment of agents. 

22 Penalty for breach of Section 20 and 21. 

23 Agreement for payment by borrower of costs, 
charges etc. void. 

CHAPTER V 

Duties of Money-lender 

24 Transaction to be reduced to writing. 

25 Copy of Memo to be supplied to debtor. 

26 Transactions in contravention of Sec. 24 or 25 void. 

27 Agreement to pay compound interest void. 

CHAPTER VI 

Method of keeping accounts 

28 Money-lender to give Pass-Book to debtor. 

29 Money-lender to supply annually a statement of 
debtor’s account. 

30 Money-lender not entitled to sue during default. 

31 Penalty for default. 

32 Accounts to be kept in books obtained from 
Government. 

33 Production of Books of Account used during the 
year for authentication. 

34 Entries in Books not in accordance with Section 32 
and 33 inadmissible in evidence. 

CHAPTER VII 
Suits and Proceedings 

35 Jurisdiction of Small Causes Court excluded. 

36 Particulars of license to be given in the Plaint. 

37 Interrogatories to be delivered to money-lender. 

38 Power of Court to re-open certain transactions. 


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Sec. 

39 

Sec. 

40 

Sec. 

41 

Sec. 

42 

Sec. 

43 

Sec. 

44 

Sec. 

45 

Sec. 

46 

Sec. 

47 

Sec. 

48 


A BILL MONEY-LENDING 263 

Certain transactions not to be re-opened. 

Rate of interest when deemed to be excessive. 
Mode of taking account 

Power to direct payment of amount due on 
mortgage decree by instalments. 

Decree may direct payment of amount due on 
mortgage by instalments. 

Court to estimate the value of judgement-debtor’s 
property. 

Only sufficient portion of judgement-debtor’s 
property to be sold. 

Saving of Powers of Court under Usurious Loans 
Act. 

Contract for payment outside the Province void. 
Agreement to pay arrears of interest void. 


CHAPTER VIII 

Proceedings in Respect of Offences. 

Sec. 49 All offences cognizable. 

Sec. 50 Appeals from convictions or acquittals. 

CHAPTER IX 

Supplemental 

Sec. 51 Power to make rules. 


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264 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Bill No. of 1938 

A Bill to Control and Regulate 
Money-Lending 

Whereas it is expedient to prescribe by law the duties and 
obligations of persons carrying on business as money-lenders 
and to control and regulate the same. 

It is hereby enacted as follows : — 

Chapter I. 

Preliminary 

Short title, extent and commencement 

1. (1) The Act may be called the Bombay Money-lenders Act, 

1938. 

(2) It shall apply to the whole of the Province of Bombay 
and shall come into force on a date not being later than 
one year after the passing of this Act as the Government 
may by notification in the Official Gazette appoint. 

Definitions 

2. In this Act unless there is anything repugnant to the 
subject or context — 

(i) “Authorised name” and “Authorised address” means 
respectively the name under which and the address at 
which a money-lender is authorised by a license granted 
under this Act to carry on the business of moneylender. 

(ii) “Business name” means the name or style under which 
any business of money-lending is carried on whether 
in partnership or otherwise. 

(iii) “Debtor” means any person against whom a moneylender 
has a claim in respect of a loan. 

(iv) “Interest” means and includes any amount in kind, cash, 
service or in any other form and by whatsoever name 
called, in excess of the principal, paid or rendered, or 
payable or renderable to a money-lender in consideration 
of, or otherwise in respect of a loan. 


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(v) “Loan” means an advance made whether of money or 
in kind at interest and shall include an undertaking 
given in respect of past liability and any transaction 
which in substance is a loan. 

(vi) “Money-lender” includes every person who carries on 
the business of lending money or who advertises or 
announces himself or holds himself out in any way 
as carrying on that business and shall include a 
pawnbroker; but it shall not include — 

(a) any society registered under the Co-operative Societies 
Act, 1912, and the Provident Insurance Societies Act, 
1912, 

(b) any corporate body, incorporated by a special enactment 
to lend money in accordance with such special 
enactment, 

(c) Government or any person authorised by it to lend 
money on its behalf and 

(d) any person, who merely because in the course of and 
for the purpose of his business lends money if he is 
bona fide carrying on 

(i) the business of banking or insurance, or 

(ii) any other business the primary object of which is not 
money-lending. 

(vii) “Payment” or “Re-payment” means and includes 
any amount paid or re-paid in kind, cash or service 
rendered. 

(viii) “Person” includes a company and a firm. 

Explanation I. For the purpose of duties and liabilities of a 
money-lender, “Company” shall include the managing 
agents or managing directors and in the case of a Firm 
all partners of the Firm. 

Explanation II. Where in a money-lending business a minor 
or a person not competent to contract has an interest 
the word “person” includes the person responsible for 
the management of the business. 


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266 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

(ix) “Prescribed” means prescribed by rules made under 
this Act. 

(x) “Principal” means in relation to a loan the amount 
actually advanced or lent to the debtor. 

(xi) “Secured debt” means a loan for which the moneylender 
holds a mortgage, charge or lien on the property of 
the debtor or any part thereof as a security for that 
loan. 

(xii) “Unsecured debt” means any loan other than a secured 
loan. 

Provisions of this Act not affected by laws, customs 
or contracts. 

3. The provisions of this Act shall apply notwithstanding 
anything contained in any other law or custom or 
usage having the force of law or any contract to the 
contrary. 

Chapter II. 

Licensing of Money-lenders. 

4. No person whether individually or otherwise or 
whether for himself or for another or for himself and 
another shall carry on the business of money-lending 
unless he takes out annually a “Money-lender’s 
License” (in this Act referred to as the Licensee) in 
respect of every address at which such business is 
being carried on. 

Name in which license to be taken out. 

5. A money-lender’s license shall be taken out by a 
moneylender in his own name and shall be void if taken 
out in any other name : 

Provided that where a person is carrying on the business 
of money-lending not in his own name but under a business 
name the license shall also show such business name and 
the authorised address at which such business is carried on; 

Provided further that where the business of money lending is 
earned on by a firm or by a company the license shall be taken out 


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in the name of the firm or in the name of the company 
and where it is carried on in the name of a minor or a 
person who is otherwise incompetent to contract in the 
name of such person. 

Particulars to be stated in license. 

6. (1) The license shall disclose in the case of a firm the 
names of its partners, in the case of a company the names 
of the managing agents or managing directors and in the 
case of a minor or a person incompetent to contract the 
name of the person or persons responsible for or appointed 
to carry on the business. 

(2) The license shall also state the authorised address 
in respect of which the license is granted. 

Necessity of certificate for license. 

7. (1) No person shall be deemed to be entitled for a 
license unless he holds a certificate (in the Act referred 
to as certificate) and a license shall not be granted except 
to a person who holds a certificate granted in accordance 
with provisions of this Act. 

(2) A separate certificate shall be required in respect 
of every separate license. 

Particulars to be stated in certificate. 

8. Every certificate granted to a person shall show his 
true name and the address at which he intends to carry 
on money-lender’s business irrespective of the question 
whether he intends to use the certificate for securing 
a license for himself, or for another, or for himself and 
another or for a firm or for a company. 

Authority competent to grant certificate. 

(1) Any Magistrate or other Officer especially invested by 
Government in this behalf with jurisdiction in the area 
in which the money-lender’s business is to be carried 
on, may, on application made in the prescribed form, 
grant to a person a certificate of eligibility. 


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268 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

(2) On receipt of an application for the grant of certificate, 
the Officer shall post up a complete copy of the 
application in a conspicuous place in his office and 
shall take no proceedings thereon for fifteen days 
from the date of such exhibition. 

(3) Any person shall be entitled to oppose the grant of a 
certificate to the applicant and in case the application 
is opposed, the Officer shall be bound to hold an 
inquiry and either grant or reject it. 

(4) Nothing in this section shall limit the power of the 
Officer to reject the application even though it is not 
opposed. 

Grounds for refusing certificate. 

10. A certificate shall not be refused except on one or 
more of the following grounds- 

(i) that satisfactory evidence has not been produced of 
the good character of the applicant, 

(ii) that satisfactory evidence has been produced that the 
applicant, or any person responsible or proposed to 
be responsible for the management of his business 
as a money-lender is not a fit and proper person to 
hold a certificate, 

(iii) that the applicant, or any person responsible or 
proposed to be responsible for the management of his 
business as a money-lender, is by order of a Court 
disqualified for holding the license, 

(iv) that the applicant has not complied with the provisions 
of any rules made under this Act with respect to an 
application for a certificate. 

Recording of reasons for refusal. 

11. When any authority who has power to grant a certificate 
refuses to do so it shall record its reasons in writing for such refusal. 


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Appeal against order of refusal. 

12. Any person aggrieved by an order of refusal to grant a 
certificate may appeal to the Sessions Judge and the decision 
of the Sessions Judge in this respect shall be final. 

Authority competent to grant license 

13. Subject to the provisions of this Act any Officer 
authorised by Government in this behalf may, on application 
made in the prescribed form and on payment of the prescribed 
fee, grant to the holder of a certificate, a license. 

Duration of license. 

14. Every license shall expire on the 31st December in 
every year. 

Fee for license. 

15. There shall be charged on every money-lender’s license 
a fee of Rs. 50/- or if the license be taken out not more than 
six months before the expiration thereof, Rs. 30/-. 

Penalty for breach of provisions regarding license. 

16. Whoever — 

(a) takes out a money-lender’s license in any name other 
than his own name, or 

(b) carries on business as a money-lender without having 
a proper license authorising him to so do, or 

(c) being licensed as a money-lender, carried on business 
as such in any name other than his authorised name, 
or at any place other than his authorised address, or 

(d) enters into an agreement in the course of his business 
as a money-lender with respect to the advance or 
repayment of money, or takes any security for money, in 
the course of his business as a money-lender, otherwise 
than in his authorised name, shall be punishable with 
fine of not less than Rs. 100/-. 

Provided that on a second or subsequent conviction of any 
person for an offence under this sub-section the court may, in lieu 


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270 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

of or in addition to ordering the offender to pay the penalty 
aforesaid, sentence him to imprisonment of either kind for 
a term not exceeding three months. 

Chapter III 

Suspension and Revocation of license. 

Suspension etc. of license on conviction 

17. Where any person, being the holder of a license is 
convicted of any offence under this Act, the court 

(i) (a) shall order that the license held by that person be 
either suspended for such time as the court thinks 
fit or revoked, and 

(b) shall also declare any such person to be disqualified 
for obtaining a license for such time as the court 
thinks fit, 

(ii) shall cause particulars of the conviction and of the 
order made under sub-clause (i) of this section to be 
endorsed on every license held by the person convicted 
or by any other person affected by the order, and 

(iii) shall cause copies of these particulars to be sent to 
the authority by whom the certificate was granted and 
also to the officer by whom the license was granted. 

Appeal against order of suspension and revocation 

18. Whether by order of a court a license held by any 
person is suspended or revoked or any person is disqualified 
for obtaining license, he may, whether or not he is the person 
convicted, appeal against the order of his conviction, and 
the appellate court may, if it thinks fit, pending the appeal, 
defer the operation of the order. 

Production of license when directed by court 

19. (1) Any lincense, required by a court for endorsement 

in accordance with the foregoing provisions of 
this Act, shall be produced by the holder in such 
manner and within such time as may be directed 
by the court. 


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A BILL MONEY-LENDING 271 

(2) Any person, who, without reasonable cause, makes 
default in producing any license as required, shall 
in respect of each offence, be liable on conviction to 
fine not exceeding five rupees for each day during 
which the default continues. 

Chapter IV 

Mode of carrying on business. 

Prohibition of advertisements circular of money- 
lending 

20. (1) A money-lender shall not, for the purpose of his 

business as such issue or publish or cause to be 
issued or published any advertisement, circular, 
business-letter, or other similar document - 

(a) containing an invitation to borrow or, 

(b) containing expressions which might reasonably be 
held to imply that he carries on banking business. 

(2) Any money-lender who acts in contravention of the 
provisions of sub-section (i) of this section shall be 
liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding Rs. 100/- 
in respect of each offence. 

Prohibition against employment of agents 

21. (1) No money-lender or any person on his behalf shall 

employ any agent or canvasser for the purpose of 
inviting any person to borrow money or to enter into 
any transaction involving the borrowing of money 
from a money-lender, and no person shall act as such 
agent or canvasser, or demand or receive directly or 
indirectly any sum or other valuable consideration 
by way of commission or otherwise for introducing 
or undertaking to introduce to a money-lender any 
person desiring to borrow money. 

(2) Any person who acts in contravention of the 
provisions of sub-section (1) of this section shall be 
liable on conviction to simple imprisonment for a 
term not exceeding three months or to a fine not 
exceeding one hundred rupees or both. 


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272 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Penalty for breach of Sec. 20 and 21 

22. When it is shown that a money-lending transaction 
was brought about by a contravention of any of the provisions 
of *Section 19 and 20, the transaction shall, notwithstanding 
that the money-lender was duly licensed under this Act, be 
void, unless the money-lender proves that the contravention 
occured without his consent or connivance. 

Agreement for payment by borrower of costs, charges 
etc. void 

23. Any agreement between a money-lender and a borrower 
or intending borrower for the repayment by the borrower or 
intending borrower to the money-lender of any sum on account 
of costs, charges or expenses incidental to or relating to the 
negotiations for or the granting of the loan or proposed loan 
shall be void and if any sum is paid to a money-lender by a 
borrower or intending borrower on account of any such costs, 
charges or expenses, that sum shall be recoverable as a debt 
due to the borrower or intending borrower or in the event of 
the loan being completed, shall, if not so recovered, be set 
off against the amount actually lent and that amount shall 
be deemed to be reduced accordingly ; 

Provided that it shall not be unlawful for a money-lender 
to charge the debtor with an amount not exceeding half the 
amount due on account of stamp duty and registration fee 
payable in respect of any document evidencing the transaction. 

Chapter V 

Duties of Money-lender 

Transaction to be reduced to writing 

24. (1) After the commencement of this Act every contract 
for the repayment of the loan or for the payment of interest 
on the loan and for security of the loan shall be evidenced by 
a memorandum in writing signed by the borrower personally. 

(2) The memorandum shall be in the prescribed form 
and shall contain all the terms of the contract and shall in 
particular show — 

(a) the date on which the loan was made, 


* Section number might be 20 and 21. — Editors 


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(b) the amount of the loan, 

(c) the nature of the consideration, 

(d) the interest, 

(e) the nature of the security taken, and 

(f) where the loan wholly or partly superseeds the previous 
loan, the particular loan and the security therefor, if 
any. 

Copy of memo to be supplied to debtor 

25. A copy of every such memorandum shall be delivered to 
the borrower within seven days from the date of the contract 
by the lender. 

Transaction in contravention of Sec. 23 or 24 void 

26. A contract or security in which it is proved that the 
memorandum was not signed by the borrower before the 
money was lent or before the security was given as the case 
may be or that a copy thereof was not sent to the borrower 
within seven days of the making of the contract as provided 
*section 24 be inserted of this Act, shall be void. 

Agreement to pay compound interest void 

27. Any contract made after the commencement of this 
Act for the loan of money by a money-lender shall be void in 
so far as it provided directly or indirectly for the payment of 
compound interest or for the rate of interest being increased 
by reason of any default in the payment of sums due under 
the contract, and he shall not be entitled to any interest: 

Provided that provision may be made by any such contract 
that if default is made in the payment upon the due date, 
of any sum payable to the money-lender under the contract, 
whether in respect of principal or interest, the money-lender 
shall be entitled to charge simple interest on that sum from 
the date of the default until the sum is paid, at a rate not 
exceeding the rate payable in respect of the principal apart 
from any default, and any interest so charged shall not be 
reckoned for the purpose of this Act as part of the interest 
charged in respect of the laon. 


* Section ‘23 or’ be inserted. — Editors 


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Chapter VI 

Method of keeping Accounts 

Money-lender to give pass-book to debtor 

28. Every money-lender shall give to his debtor a pass- 
book provided by Government and shall enter therein every 
payment made by the debtor or to the debtor and authenticate 
the same by his signature. 

Money-lender to supply annually a statement of 
debtor’s account. 

29. Every money-lender shall deliver to hi s debtor 
and such other persons from whom he is entitled to claim 
payment of the debt, on or before the 31st January of every 
year, a statement of his accounts in respect of the debt in 
such form as may be prescribed by Government, upto the 
31st December of the previous year authenticated by his 
signature. 

Money-lender not entitled to sue during default 

30. A money-lender, who fails to comply with the provision 
of section 28, shall not, as long as the default continues, be 
entitled to sue for or recover any sum due under the contract 
on account either of principal or interest, and interest shall 
not be chargeable in respect of the period of the default. 

Penalty for default 

31. A money-lender who contravenes the provision of 
section 28 or 29 shall be liable to a fine not exceeding 
Rs. 100/-. 

Accounts to be kept in books obtained from 
Government 

32. Every money-lender shall obtain from Governemnt 
on payment of such fees as may be prescribed, such books 
of accounts as may be necessary for him for the purpose 
of recording his transactions as a money-lender and shall 
regularly record and maintain accounts of all his transactions 
relating to the loans made and security for such loan, if any, 
in such account books, containing such details and in such 
script and numerals and in such ink as may be prescribed 
by Government from time to time. 


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Production of books of account used during the year for 
authentication. 

33. (1) On or before the 31st January in each year every 

money-lender shall produce before the licensing officer 
all the books of account used by him in the previous 
year. 

(2) The licensing officer shall thereupon sign and date 
in the case of running accounts the first and last 
entries on either side of each book and in the case of 
a ledger the first and last entries of each account in 
the ledger. 

(3) The licensing officer shall also enter after the last 
entry in the running account particulars of the books 
issued to the money-lender in the previous year but 
not used by him in that year. 

Entries in books not in accordance with Sec. 31 and 32*, 
inadmissible in evidence. 

34. Notwithstanding anything contained in the Indian 
Evidence Act, 1872, no entry in any book, register or record 
relating to any loan or security therefor shall be admissible as 
evidence in any suit or proceedings for a money-lender unless 
it is contained in a book supplied by Government under the 
provisions of section 32 of this Act and reorded in the manner 
prescribed by the said section and in the case of an entry which 
relates to a previous year authenticated as provided by section 33. 

Chapter VII 

Suits and Proceedings 

Jurisdiction of Small Causes Court excluded 

35. Notwithstanding anything contained in the Provincial 
or Presidency Small Causes Court Act, no suit by or against a 
moneylender in respect of any claim arising out of any money- 
lending transaction shall be cognizable by a court of Small 
Causes unless that claim is in respect of a single transaction 
and such transaction is not directly or indirectly connected with 
earlier transactions between the parties or persons through 
whom they claim. 


* It may be 32 and 33 - Editors. 


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Particulars of license to be given in the plaint 

36. (1) Every plaint by a money-lender shall contain the 

particulars of the license held by him at the time 
when the transaction in the suit was entered into; 

(2) If a money-lender without lawful excuse fails to 
comply with the provisions of sub- section (i) of 
this section the court shall order him to pay to the 
defendant the cost of the suit. 

Interrogatories to be delivered to money-lender 

37. (1) In any suit or proceedings for accounts or for the 

recovery of money lent or advanced if the person 
lending or advancing the money denies that he is a 
money-lender the court shall deliver to such person 
interrogatories for the purpose of ascertaining- 

(a) whether he either alone or in conjunction with or 
in the name or through the agency of any other 
person or persons or corporation, made any and 
if so what loan or loans or advances within a 
reasonable time before and after the date of the 
transaction in suit or proceedings and if so, 

(b) whether he or any and if so on what occasion 
or occasions, lent or advanced money under any 
name other than his own name and; 

(c) whether he has been registered as a money-lender 
under his own or any other or what name as a 
money-lender and if so when. 

(2) The provisions of Order 11 of the Code of Civil 
Procedure, 1908 shall apply to such interrogatories. 

Power of Court to re-open certain transactions 

38. Where in any suit or proceedings instituted after 
or pending at the time when this Act comes into force the 
transaction discloses that— 

(a) the interest is excessive, or 

(b) the transaction is as between the parties therein, 
unconscionable, 


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the court shall exercise one or more of the following 
powers, namely — 

(i) re-open the transaction, take an account 
between the parties and relieve the debtor 
of all liability in respect of any excessive 
interest, 

(ii) notwithstanding any agreement, purporting 
to close previous dealings and create a new 
obligation, re-open any account already taken 
between them and relieve the debtor of all 
liability in respect of any excessive interest, 
and if anything has been paid or allowed in 
account in respect of such liability, order the 
money-lender to re-pay any sum which it 
considers to be re-payable in respect thereof, 

(iii) set aside either wholly or in part or revise or 
alter any security given or agreement made in 
respect of any loan, and if the money-lender 
has parted with the security, order him to 
indemnify the debtor in such manner and to 
such extent as it may deem fit. 

Certain transactions not to be re-opened 

39. In the exercise of the powers conferred by section 
38 the court shall not — 

(i) re-open any agreement purporting to close 
previous dealings and to create a new obligation 
which has been entered into by the parties or any 
person from whom they claim at a date more than 
twenty years from the date of the transaction, or 

(ii) do anything which affects any decree of a court. 

Explanation . — In the case of a suit brought on a 
series of transactions for the purposes of clause 
(i)of section 38 the expression “transaction” means 
the first of such transactions. 


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Rate of interest when deemed excessive. 

40. For the purposes of section 37, interest shall be deemed 
to be excessive if — 

(i) in the case of an unsecured loan it is at a rate in 
excess of three times, 

(ii) in the case of a loan secured by a second or subsequent 
mortgage it is at a rate in excess of two and a half 
times, 

(iii) in the case of loan secured by a first mortgage or pledge 
it is at a rate in excess of one and a half times, 

the Bank rate of the Reserve Bank or of the Imperial Bank 
or the Bank of Bombay, as the case may be, at the date of 
the loan or transaction. 

Mode of taking account 

41. The account under section 37 shall be taken in 
accordance with the following rules, that is to say — 

(i) separate accounts of principal and interest shall be 
taken, 

(ii) in the account of the principal there shall be debited to 
the debtor such money as has from time to time been 
actually received by him from the money-lender and the 
price of goods, if any, sold to him by the moneylender 
as part of the transaction, 

(iii) in the account of the principal there shall not be debited 
to the debtor any accumulated interest which had been 
converted into principal at any settlement of account or 
by any contract made in the course of the transaction, 

(iv) in the account of interest there shall be debited to 
the debtor monthly simple interest on the balance of 
principal for the time being outstanding at a rate agreed 
between the parties but in no case exceeding the rates 
specified in section 38, 

(v) all moneys paid by or on account of the debtor to the 
money-lender or on his account, and all payments in 
kind, all profits, service or other advantages of every 


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description received by the money-lender in the 
course of the transaction shall be credited first in the 
account of interest and when any payment is more 
than sufficient to discharge the balance of interest due 
at the time it is made, the residue of such payment 
shall be credited to the debtor in the account of the 
principal. 

Explanation . — Where for purposes of accounting it is 
necessary to estimate in terms of money the value 
of any profits, services or advantages received by 
the moneylender including profits, rents and other 
advantages of property in the possession of the money- 
lender held by him as a security for the loan, the same 
shall be determined in accordance with the market 
rates prevailing on material dates or with the aid of 
assessors appointed by the court or failing which by 
the court in its own discretion, 

(vi) the accounts of principal and interest shall be made 
upto the date of instituting the suit and the aggregate 
of the balance due on both such accounts against the 
debtor on that date shall be deemed to be the amount 
due at that date, except when the balance appearing 
due on the interest account exceeds that appearing 
due on the principal account, in which case double 
the latter balance shall be deemed to be the amount 
then due. 

Power to direct payment of amount due on mortgage 
decree by instalments. 

42. The court may, at any application of a judgement- 
debtor, after notice to the decree-holder, direct that 
the amount of any decree passed before or after the 
commencement of this Act, in respect of a loan, including 
any decree in a suit relating to a mortgage by which a loan 
is secured shall be paid in such number of instalments and 
subject to such conditions on the dates fixed by it as, having 
regard to the circumstances of the judgement-debtor and 
the amount of the decree, it considers fit. 


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280 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Decree may direct payment of amount due on mortgage 
by instalment. 

The court may at the time of passing the decree in any 
suit relating to a mortgage by which any loan is secured order 
that payment of any amount decreed in such suit, shall be 
made by instalments notwithstanding anything to the contrary 
contained in any contract between the money-lender and the 
person to whom the loan was advanced. 

Court to estimate the value of judgement-debtor’s 
property. 

44. When an application is made for the execution of a 
decree by the attachment and sale of the judgement-debtor’s 
property, the court executing the decree, shall, notwithstanding 
anything contained in the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, 
hear the parties to the decree and estimate the value of such 
property and of that portion of such property the proceeds 
of the sale of which it considers will be sufficient to satisfy 
the decree. 

Only sufficient portion of judgement debtor’s property 
to be sold. 

45. Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Civil 
Procedure, 1908, the proclamation of the intended sale shall 
include only so much of the property the proceeds of the sale 
of which the court considers will be sufficient to satisfy the 
decree and such property shall not be sold at a price lower 
than the price specified in the said proclamation. 

Saving of power of court under Usurious Loans Act. 

46. Except as is otherwise provided by this Act nothing 
herein contained shall affect the powers of a Court under the 
Usurious Loans Act, 1918. 

Contract for payment outside the Province void. 

47. Any contract entered into between a money-lender 
and his debtor in respect of a loan advanced after the 
commencement of this Act providing for the payment of the 
amount due on such loan at any place outside the province 
of Bombay shall be void. 


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A BILL MONEY-LENDING 281 

Agreement to pay arrears of interest void. 

Any agreement entered into by a debtor to pay any arrears 
of interest due on a loan shall be void. 

Chapter VIII. 

Proceedings in respect of offences 

All offences cognizable. 

49. All offences under this Act shall be cognizable and 
shall be triable by any Magistrate. 

Appeals from convictions or acquittals. 

50. An order of conviction or acquittal passed under this Act 
in respect of any offence under this Act shall be appeallable 
in the same manner as if it was an order passed under the 
Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898. 

Chapter IX. 

Supplemental 
Power to make rules. 

51. (1) It shall be lawful for Government to make rules 
prescribing- 

(a) the form of the certificate and the license to be granted 
to the money-lender, 

(b) the procedure to be followed in making applications for 
certificates and licenses, 

(c) the authorities empowered to grant licenses and 
certificates, to issue books of accounts, pass books, 
memorandum and their form, 

(d) procedure in respect of appeals from orders passed 
under the provisions of this Act, 

(e) the form of account books, pass books and the method 
of authentication, 

(f) the forms of the annual statements of accounts to be 
submitted by the money-lender to his debtor, 

(g) fees for the supply of account books, pass-books etc., 

(h) charges payable by the debtor to the money-lender in 
respect of loans. 


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282 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

(2) Before any such rules are made under this section a 
draft thereof shall be laid before each chamber of the 
legislature for a period of not less than 21 days during 
the session of the chamber, and if either chamber 
before the expiration of the said period passes a 
resolution against the draft or any part thereof, no 
further proceedings shall be taken thereon, but without 
prejudice to the making of a new draft rule. 
Statement of Objects And Reasons 
This Bill is intended to control and regulate the business 
of money-lending. For that purpose it provides— 

Firstly- (i) that no money-lender shall carry on the business 
of money-lending unless he has taken out a license 
and that license shall not be granted to any person 
who does not posses a certificate of good character; 

(ii) that the license issued to a money-lender shall 
be liable to be suspended or revoked if he is found 
guilty of breach of any duty imposed upon him 
by this Bill. 

Secondly- (i) the bill provided that all loans made by a 
moneylender whether secured or unsecured shall 
be evidenced by writing signed by the borrower; 

(ii) that a money-lender shall give a pass-book to 
the borrower in which all transactions between 
them shall be entered by the money-lender; 

(iii) that annualy the money-lender shall send to 
the borrower a statement of his accounts; 

(iv) that charging of compound interest or other 
costs shall be illegal. 

Thirdly- the Bill lays down the mode of keeping accounts 
by the money-lender. It requires : 

(i) that the money-lender shall keep his accounts 
in the books obtained by Government; 

(ii) that at the end of every year he shall produce 
his books before a government official, who shall 
initial the first and last entries in such books; 

(iii) that no books of accounts shall be admissible in 


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A BILL MONEY-LENDING 283 

evidence in any suit or proceedings unless they 
are kept in conformity with these rules. 

Fourthly - the bill contains provisions regarding suits between 
a money-lender and a borrower. It lays down 

(i) that such suit shall not be triable by the Small 
Causes Court unless it is in respect of a single 
transaction; 

(ii) that the court may re-open certain transactions 
if the interest is excessive or if the transaction is 
unconsciousnable ; 

(iii) that interest shall be deemed to be excessive 
if it exceeds a certain level fixed in relation to the 
Bank rate; 

(iv) that accounts between a money-lender and a 
borrower shall be taken in accordance with certain 
rules which are embodied in the D. A. R. Act; 

(v) that in the execution of a decree against a 
borrower the court may grant instalments and 
sell only such amount of property of the borrower 
as may be sufficient, satisfaction of the decree. 

Fifthly- The bill makes void any contract for payment of 
the loan by the borrower outside the Province 
the object being to prevent a money-lender from 
defeating the provisions of this Act. 

B. R. Ambedkar 

• • 


Reprinted from a booklet printed at Shree Laxmi Narayan Press, 364. 
Thakurdwar, Bombay. 


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20 

I SHALL STAND FOR PRINCIPLE AND WILL 
FIGHT ALONE FOR IT 

Ahmedabad, October 22.1938. 

“I do not believe any progress has been made by the 
Congress Ministry of Bombay by bringing in the Trade Disputes 
and Tenancy Bills. We have fundamental differences with 
the Congress for years. We are not fighting for offices in the 
province, but we fight for our rights.” 

Thus observed Dr. Ambedkar who came here this morning 
in an interview with the pressman. 

Continuing, he said “if I join hands with the Congress 
today, I can have what I like, but our case is entirely different. 
I do not care if the whole of my community differs from me 
and join the Congress, but I shall stand for principle and will 
fight alone for it.” 

Referring to Mr. Jinnah, he said, “Mr. Jinnah is totally 
carrying the Muslims on the wrong path. I do not understand 
what differences he has with the Congress. If the League 
really stands for the interests of the Minorities, I welcome 
Mr. Jinnah to join hands with other sections who differ from 
the Congress, and make a united front of all these sections 
against the Congress. The Muslim League, to my mind, is 
fighting for elections and ministry. 

Mr. Jinnah on one side is fighting with the Congress, 
while on the other side he intends to come to a pact with 
the Congress, which is entirely meaningless. Appeal to him 
to learn a lesson from the Poona pact.” 1 

• • 


1 The Bombay Chronicle : dated 22nd October 1938. 


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21 

MINISTRY SEEMS TO BE INTOXICATED 
WITH POWER 

Bombay, Thursday.* * 

‘In the name of the working class of Bombay, in 
the name of Law and Order and in the name of decent 
administration of the province I demand an impartial and 
public inquiry into the scandalous mismanagement of the 
protest strike by the police department under the control of 
the Hon. Mr. Munshi. I demand a public inquiry into the 
absolutely uncalled for firing and lathi charges to which 
the police repeatedly resorted’ said Dr. B. R. Ambedkar 
leader of the Independent Labour Party in the course of 
a statement to the Press . 1 

‘What has come over the Congress Ministry, asked 
Dr. Ambedkar, ‘that it should not be able to manage a 
single day’s strike without resorting to such disgraceful 
terror.’ 

‘There were strikes that lasted for days and weeks 
and months in the past. There was one that lasted for 
seven and a half months with processions and meetings 
and demonstrations every day. There were no such lathi 
charges and firing during the whole of this period.’ 

‘Today under Congress Raj we cannot have a single 
day’s strike without repression and terrorism being let 
loose. That i s what the Congress has come to.’ 

The Press 

What about the press, the press that stood for freedom 
and rights of workers and championed their cause as long 
as the Congress needed their help ? 

Today that press is resorting to lies and falsehoods 
and distortions and suppression of facts that must make 
the British and Anglo-Indian journal blush with shame. 

1: Free Press Journal, dated 9th November 1938. i.e. Wednesday. 

* The 3rd November 1938. 


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286 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

‘The Protest Strike is condemned as having fallen flat, 
that it was a fiasco, that the workers defied the orders of 
their leaders. Those who went on strike were supposed to 
have been ‘intimidated’ ‘bullied’ ‘terrorised’ ‘coerced’ and so 
on’. 

People are familiar with these words. But so far they 
used to come from a press that was considered anti-national. 
Today they come from Congress and pro-Congress press. 
That is the tragedy. That is the grim reality we have to face. 

‘I ask these journals, what has happened to your Truth 
and Non-violence, what has happened to your common 
decency ?’ 

‘As far as the workers are concerned they cannot be misled 
by this or any other propaganda. They were witnesses to 
the gigantic demonstrations of protest against the Trades 
Disputes Bill. They know what mighty success the strike 
has been.’ 


Ministry Warned 

‘Let the Congress Ministry and Congress leaders remember 
this one fact very clearly, that every lathi charge that has 
been directed on the workers, every shot that has been fired 
on members of the working class will echo and re-echo in 
this city and this presidency for weeks and months to come.’ 

‘Those lathi charges and firing will be echoed and re- 
echoed during the forth-coming Municipal Elections from a 
hundred platforms and in a hundred meeting. Those lathi 
charges and firing are going to cost the Congress much more 
than its leaders seem to realise today. 

‘Those outrages on our right and our freedom will be 
heard in the farther most corners of this province in the 
remotest villages of this presidency. 

‘The Congress Ministry seems to be intoxicated with power. 
They seem to be ignorant of the one great lesson of democracy 
that mighty majority in parliaments and legislatures 
are swept off overnight by a single incident by single 
miscalculated step. But that lesson will be driven home during 


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MINISTRY WITH POWER 287 

the Bombay Municipal Elections, it will be driven home when 
the Government face the electorate again. 

‘I have not the slightest doubt that it will be driven home 
with a deadly effect.’ 


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22 

INJUSTICE TO TILLERS OF SOIL 
Analysis of Prakasam Committee’s Recommendations 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Leader of the Independent Labour 
Party, has issued the following statement: — 

I have read the recommendations of the Prakasam 
Committee on conditions in zamindari areas. While the view 
that the zamindar is no more than an assignee of revenue 
may be justified, the stand that the Committee has taken 
that no tenancy rights for the actual cultivator can accrue 
in lands belonging to proprietors of the soil is neither legally 
correct, nor just to the cultivator, nor conducive to the sound 
development of the agricultural economy. 

It is legally incorrect, because grades of proprietary rights 
grown during that last century and have been recognised in 
law in all tenancy legislations. It is unjust to the cultivator, 
because the purpose of fixing a low rent or revenue is to 
leave a wide surplus for him and to provide him with a living 
income, to improve his farm and tide over scarcity years, 
and not to create a large number of smaller zamindars to 
enrich themselves both at the expense of the zamindar and 
the cultivator. 

It is against the interests of agriculture, because proprietary 
interests ought not be allowed to exploit land as a property 
for rack-renting the cultivator as against its conservation for 
use for agricultural purposes. 

The report of the Prakasam Committee is nothing more 
than an assessment of the distribution of the rack-rent collected 
from the cultivators among the superior holders. 

MR. PRAKASAM’S RECENT REPLIES TO A QUESTION 
IN THE LEGISLATURE THAT TENANCY LEGISLATION 
WILL NOT BE UNDERTAKEN IN RAYATWARI AREAS 
BECAUSE RAYATWARI HOLDERS ARE PROPRIETORS 
OF THE SOIL SHUTS OUT ALL HOPES OF ANY GOOD 
COMING TO THE CULTIVATOR FROM THE CONGRESS 
MINISTRY. 


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INJUSTICE OF SOIL 289 

I have no doubt that the Scheduled Class representatives 
in Madras will not be a party to any legislation which, in 
the name of proprietary rights, creates a new class of rent 
receivers. And I think that any support given by them to any 
such legislation would be grave betrayal of the interests of 
the cultivator .” 1 

• • 


1 The Bombay Chronicle : dated 18th January 1939. 


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23 

DR. AMBEDKAR CHALLENGES GWYER AWARD 

“Since February 1939 trouble had been brewing in the 
Rajkot State where a strong agitation was going on for 
political reforms. Defeated and disappointed by Subhas Bose’s 
election to the Presidentship of the Congress, Gandhi hurried 
to Rajkot apparently to settle the State problem, but with an 
inward desire to create a crisis just at the time of the Tripuri 
Congress Session over which Subhas Bose was to preside. 
Dr. Ambedkar was urgently called by the local Depressed 
Classes to intervene in the dispute regarding their non- 
inclusion in the Reforms Committee of the State. He therefore, 
left by air for Rajkot and on the evening of April 18, saw the 
ruler, the Thakor Saheb, and at night addressed a meeting of 
the Depressed Classes, urging them to carry on their struggle 
for political rights. 

The next morning he had a talk with Gandhi for forty-five 
minutes on the question of representation for the Harijans 
on the Reforms Committee. He stated in an interview at 
Rajkot that he could not discuss in detail all the points with 
Gandhi, as the Mahatma had a sudden temperature. He, 
however, revealed that the suggestion that his, alternative 
proposal should be submitted to a constitutional expert like 
Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru was not acceptable to Gandhi. At last 
Gandhi failed in his attempt to effect a change of heart by 
his non-violent methods and resorted to coercive methods by 
appealing to the Viceroy to intervene. Gandhi, the apostle 
of the principle of change of heart and non-violence, himself 
publicly confessed that his non-violence had not yet been 
developed to the fullest power, and so he left Rajkot, to quote 
his words, with hopes cremated and body shattered. 

Accordingly, a few days thereafter Sir Maurice Gwyer, 
the Chief Justice of the Federal Court, gave an Award 
on the disputes in the State of Rajkot. Dr. Ambedkar 
challenged the interpretation of the word “recommend” 
given by Sir Maurice Gwyer. He stated that Gwyer 
had given his decision on the footing that “There is 


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DR. AMBEDKAR AWARD 291 

no conclusive precedent for the purposes of the present 
reference.” Dr. Ambedkar quoted two authorities in 
support of his assertion, Knolt vs. Cottee, and Johnson 
vs. Rowlands ” 1 

Following are the stage to stage details : Editors. 

I 

“HARIJAN REPRESENTATION IN COMMITTEE 
Dr. Ambedkar’s Telegram to Gandhiji 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Leader of the Independent Labour 
Party, has sent the following telegram to Mahatma 
Gandhi : — 

“Would like knowing if Rajkot Depressed classes get 
representation on the Reforms Committee .” 2 

II 

“ANOTHER CLAIM FOR SEAT 
Dr. Ambedkar’s Wire to Virawalla 

The Muslim Deputationists to-day denied that the 
negotiations had broken down and added that they will 
be seeing Gandhiji again to-night. Meanwhile they are in 
communication with a prominent Muslim League leader 
in Bombay to receive instructions. 

The Girasyas and Bhayats whose claim for representation 
on the Reforms Committee have not been accepted are 
waiting in a deputation on the Thakore Saheb to-night. 

The latest claimant for a seat on the Reforms Committees 
are some members of the Depressed Classes in Rajkot. Dr. 
Ambedkar has wired to Durbar Virawalla to-day “hope 
you won’t forget your State representation to Depressed 
Classes on your Reforms Committee as already promised.” 

The First Member of Rajkot Council has handed over 
the above telegram to Gandhiji. 

1 Keer, pp 322-323. 

2: The Bombay Chronicle, dated 14th April 1939. 


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292 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

On behalf of the Thakore Saheb Durbar Virawalla has 
sent the following telegram to Dr. Ambedkar : “Your wire 
has been communicated to His Highness. I am directed 
to say that in spite of His Highness’ desire and keenness 
Mr. Patel is not likely to recommend any representative of the 
Depressed Class. If you so desire, His Highness will willingly 
grant an interview to discuss with you how the Depressed 
Classes could be helped. “ — A. P.” 1 

III 

“DR. AMBEDKAR AS STATE GUEST 
(From Our Correspondent.) 

Rajkot, April 18. 

Dr. Ambedkar arrived from Bombay this morning by air 
and was received by some Girasias at the aerodrome. He was 
taken to the state guest house in a state car. 

Khwaji Hassan Nizami who also arrived with Dr. Ambedkar 
was received at Anandkunj by Mahatmaji this morning and 
had a talk with Mahatmaji for an hour. 2 

IV 

“DR. AMBEDKAR SEES THAKORE 
(From Our Correspondent.) 

Rajkot, April 18. 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar who arrived here this morning in 
order to study the Harijan problems is returning to Bombay 
tomorrow. The Doctor interviewed the Thakore Saheb to-night 
and will see Gandhiji tomorrow. 

In the evening prominent Muslim leaders and Bhayats 
met him and discussed how their negotiations with Gandhiji 
for representation of their interest in the Reforms Committee 
broke down. 

1 The Bombay Chronicle, dated 15th April 1939. 

2: The Bombay Chronicle, dated 19th April 1939. 


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DR. AMBEDKAR AWARD 293 

Dr. Ambedkar was also closeted with Mr. Virawalla this 
evening. 

It is understood that Dr. Ambedkar will issue a note on 
the Rajkot question in the light of his discussions with various 
communities in Rajkot.” 1 


V 

“DR. AMBEDKARS ALTERNATIVE 

Rajkot April 19. 

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, in an interview to the “United Press” 
stated that he came here not at the invitation of the Rajkot 
Durbar, but at the invitation of the local Depressed Classes 
who requested his intervention in the dispute regarding their 
non-inclusion in the Reforms Committee. 

“The first thing I did on my arrival”, he said, “was to 
ascertain from the Durbar whether they were prepared to 
have on the Committee a person who was the accredited 
representative of the Depressed Classes. 

Alternative Proposal 

“I saw Gandhiji this morning at 11-30 but unfortunately, 
I could not discuss in detail all the points since he had got 
sudden temperature. However, I discussed with him an 
alternative proposal of submission of the formation of the 
new constitution to a person like Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru or 
Sir Shivaswami Iyer or any other equally well versed man 
in constitutional law, before all the classes of the State could 
put their cases. Gandhiji could not agree to this, his argument 
being that such a report should be final.” 

Dr. Ambedkar left for Bombay this evening by train — 
United Press.” 2 


1: The Bombay Chronicle, dated 19th April 1939. 
2: The Bombay Chronicle, dated 20th April 1939. 


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VI 

“DR. AMBEDKAR CHALLENGES GWYER AWARD 

Quotes Cases to Show “Recommendation” 

Is Not Command 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, in a legal analysis of the Gwyer Award 
says : — 

The award given by Sir Maurice Gwyer on the dispute between 
the Thakore Saheb of Rajkot and Mr. Vallabhbhai Patel over the 
interpretation of the word “recommend” is not only of importance 
to the parties to the dispute but to the general public at large. 

The parties to the award being bound by the award the 
question whether that interpretation is right or wrong may not 
be of much use to them. The same cannot however be said of 
the public. To them the question is still full of interest. It is 
true that the award is not a decision of a court of law. Yet it 
has behind it all the authority of so great a name as that of 
Sir Maurice Gwyer. 

Last Word With Sardar 

For an intelligent appreciation of such principles it is 
necessary in the first place to state what the contention of the 
Thakore Saheb was and how it was disposed off by Sir Maurice 
Gwyer. 

Sir Maurice Gwyer sums it up thus, “The gist of Thakore 
Saheb’s argument is contained in the following sentence in the 
written case submitted on his behalf. ‘It is obvious that the 
word “recommend” itself clearly indicates that it (each name) 
is to be considered and it was open to the Thakore Saheb to 
reject any of the names on the ground, for instance, that any 
one of the names recommended was not a suitable person, was 
incapable or undesirable’. This contention Sir Maurice Gwyer 
has not upheld. 

He says, “In my opinion the true construction is that 
the Thakore Saheb undertakes to appoint the persons 
whom Mr. Vallabhbhai Patel may recommend and that 
he does not re-serve to himself any discretion to reject 
those whom he does not approve. He is no doubt entitled 
to criticise the recommendations and to urge reasons for 
reconsidering them, but, unless it can be shown that any of the 


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DR. AMBEDKAR AWARD 295 

persons recommended is neither the subject nor the servant 
of the State, Mr. Vallabhbhai Patel is to have the “last word”. 

Two Objections 

The ground for this conclusion and for the rejection of the 
Thakore Saheb’s contention by Sir Maurice Gwyer are two. 
To use the words of Sir Maurice Gwyer himself, the first 
ground is that “no such proposition (as is contended for by 
the Thakore Saheb) can be based simply upon, the use of the 
word “recommend” which in itself does not necessarily imply 
anything of the kind. It may take its colour from the context 
and accordingly, all the circumstances of the case must be 
taken into account.” 

The second ground is that the Thakore Saheb had not 
reserved to himself the power to consider the recommendation 
and therefore he had no discretion to reject the persons 
recommended by Mr. Vallabhbhai Patel. Sir Maurice Gwyer 
has referred to the case Rex- as- Governors of Christs’ Hospital 
reported in (1917) I. K. B. 19. But, he does not rely upon it. 
He makes it quite clear as to why he refers to it. He says, “I 
only refer to them for the purpose of showing that there is 
no single principle which regulates cases where one person 
recommends and another appoints.” Indeed he has proceeded 
to give his decision on the footing that there is no conclusive 
precedent for the purposes of the present reference . . . .” 

Precedent And Principle 

With due deference I venture to say that there is a well 
established principle supported by a precedent which could 
be invoked in deciding this reference. Knott-as-Cottee (2 Phil 
192 equal to 41 E. R. 915) i.e. the precedent I have in mind. 
The facts of the case can be very briefly stated. 

‘A’ made a Will and appointed his wife, one Mr. Cottee 
and one Mr. Ibbettson executors and trustees and he also 
appointed these three as the guardians of his children. 
Further ‘A’ recommended that if his wife should die before 
his son should attain twenty-one. or before his daughters 
attain that age or marry, the surviving guardian or 
guardians should place his children, or such of them as 
should then be minors under the care of his cousin Mary 


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Prior. ‘A’s’ wife died and the children were placed under the 
care of Mary Prior by Mr. Cottee the surviving executor and 
testamentary guardian. The case proceeded on the assumption 
that the word recommend meant that a binding trust was 
created on the testamentary guardians so that Mr. Cottee 
was bound to appoint Mary Prior as the person to take care 
of the children. 

Inherent Powers 

The issue was this .... Did the recommendation take 
away all the powers of control belonging to Mr. Cottee 
as the testamentary guardian ? In deciding this issue 
the Lord Chancellor (Lord Denman) said....” I have had 
frequent opportunities of considering the effect of words of 
recommendation. One was in a recent case in this Court, where 
the question was whether a recommendation by the testator, 
that a certain person should be employed as receiver and 
manager of his property, gave that person any legal interest. 

Another case was of Shaw vs. Lawless where the House of 
Lords laid it down as a rule which I have since acted upon, 
that, though recommendation may in some cases amount 
to a direction and create a trust, yet that, being a flexible 
term, if such a construction of it be inconsistent with any 
positive provision in the Will. It is to be considered as a 
recommendation, and nothing more. 

In that case, the interest supposed to be given to the party 
recommended was inconsistent with other powers which the 
trustees were to exercise; and those powers being given in 
unambiguous terms, it was held that, as the two-provisions 

could not stand together, the flexible term was to give 

way to the inflexible term.” Accordingly it was held that 
notwithstanding the fact that the recommendation was binding 
it did not take away the powers of control of Mr. Cottee as 
a testamentary guardian, over the children. 

Not Binding Direction 

The case is no doubt one relating to trust. But a trust is only 
another name for legal obligation and whether one speaks of 
recommendation creating a trust or creating a legal obligation it is 


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just the same. That being so the case is relevant because it 
enunciates a very important rule relating to the interpretation 
of the word ‘recommend’. As one can see from the judgment 
of Lord Denman the rule is that the word ‘recommend’ cannot 
be interpreted to mean a binding direction from which there 
is no escape if such an interpretation becomes inconsistent 
with the exercise of certain other positive powers vested in 
the person to whom the recommendation is made. 

Now in the case of Thakore Saheb vs. Vallabhbhai can 
it not be said that the position of the Thakore Saheb is the 
same as that of Mr. Cottee ? Can it not be further said that 
like Mr. Cottee the Thakore Saheb also in his capacity as the 
Crown possesses certain positive powers? Such as the power to 
appoint, reject or dismiss any person to or from any place, if 
it is right to say that the Thakore Saheb stands in the same 
position at that of Mr. Cottee then how can one escape the 
conclusion that the rule to be applied in deciding the case 
of Thakore Saheb vs. Vallabhbhai is the rule laid down in 
Knott vs. Cottee ? 

Another Authority 

There is also another authority Johnson vs. Rowlands 
(17 L. J. Ch 438) which can be usefully referred to in this 
connection. In this case the question was the interpretation 
of the word recommend as used in a Will. In the Will the 
testator had said, “I gave the same (a certain amount of 
money) to be disposed off in such a way as she shall think 
proper. But I recommend to her to dispose of Vi of it to her 
own relations.” The legatee did not dispose of the Vi to her 
own relations as recommended by the testator. Question was 
whether she could depart from the recommendation. The Court 
held that she could. To use the language of the judgement 
‘recommendation’ may mean command. But it cannot mean 
command if it is inconsistent with the legal and equitable 
power of . the person to whom the recommendation is made 
to depart from the recommendation. 

It is true that the language of the letter written by the Thakore 
Saheb is different from the language of the Will in the Johnson vs. 
Rowlands. But supposing the letter written by the Thakore Saheb 


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298 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

to Mr. Vallabhbhai Patel had been written in these terms: 
“We have a right to constitute the committee in a way like. 
But you should recommend to us names of seven persons 
to be appointed on the committee and we shall appoint 
them.” It is true that in the Thakore’s case there is an 
agreement between him and Vallabhbhai while there was 
no such agreement between the legatee and her relations 
in Johnson vs. Rowlands. We are not however considering 
the question whether the agreement is binding on and 
enforceable against the Thakore Saheb which is made by him 
in his capacity as the Crown. That is a different question 
and raises important issues. 

The Absent Phrase 

The issue with which we are concerned is what is 
meant by the word ‘recommend’ and on this issue the 
case of Johnson vs. Rowlands seems to be on all fours 
with the case of Thakore Saheb vs. Vallabhbhai Patel. 
The absence of the words “we have a right to constitute 
the Committee in any way we like” in the letter of the 
Thakore Saheb to Vallabhbhai cannot, I submit, make any 
difference. Such words must be deemed to be present in 
every document executed by him as the Sovereign Ruler of 
Rajkot. Whether they are actually there or not the positive 
power of constituting the Committee at his pleasure in an 
inseparable incident of his position and run with him as 
part of the prerogative of the Crown. Nor does the fact that 
the Thakore Saheb in his letter did not reserve to himself 
the power to reject the recommendation of Mr. Vallabhabhai 
affect the situation. 

The question is not whether the Thakore Saheb has 
reserved for himself the power to reject. The question is 
whether there is anything in the word ‘recommend’ which 
can be said to take away the Thakore’s inherent powers 
of rejection which are always with him and which it was 
not necessary for him to save by any express stipulation. 
If this is so, the word ‘recommend’ cannot be given an 
interpretation different from the one given to it in these 
two cases. 


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DR. AMBEDKAR AWARD 299 

Positive Powers 

In this as in the other two cases there are on the one hand 
positive powers of the Thakore Saheb which is an inflexible 
term and on the other there is recommendation which is 
always a flexible term. That being so according to the rule 
the flexible term must give way to the inflexible term. That 
is to say ‘recommend’ cannot mean direct or bind. 

The case reported in (1917) I. K. B. 19 referred to by 
Sir Maurice Gwyer seems to be in conflict with the two 
cases I have referred to. But on a closer examination it 
will be seen that there is no conflict and the case is easily 
distinguishable. In 1917 I.K.B. 19 the appointing authority, 
was ‘just’ an appointing authority and no more. It had no 
positive powers which could be said to be in danger of being 

nullified by interpreting the word ‘recommend’ to 

mean a binding direction. 

The rule as laid down in the two cases referred to by me 
seems to be that where there exist positive powers which are 
capable of being exercised independently, the word recommend 
cannot mean a binding direction, but where there are no 
positive powers it may have that meaning. In the two cases 
referred to by me there were positive powers and therefore 
the decision was that recommendation did not mean binding 
direction. 

In the case referred to by Sir Maurice Gwyer there were no 
positive powers and therefore it was held that recommendation 
could mean a binding direction. The case of Thakore Saheb 
vs. Vallabhbhai is one which in my opinion falls in the class 
under which the two cases cited by me fall and not under 
the class of cases reported in (1917) L K. B. 19.” 1 

• • 


1: The Bombay Chronicle : dated 2nd May 1939. 


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24 

I AM ANXIOUS MORE THAN MR. JINNAH... 

“Dr. Ambedkar To join Muslim Celebration Deliverance 
Day”: Support of Many Parsis. 

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, leader of the Independent Labour 
Party, has decided to join in the celebration of “Deliverance 
Day” on Friday next. 

A number of Parsis have, already expressed their eagerness 
in their individual capacity, to cooperate with Mr. M. A. 
Jinnah, President of the All India Muslim League, in making 
the day a success. 

The sub-committee appointed by the Parsi Community a few 
months ago at a meeting held at Sir Cowasjee Jehangir Hall to 
protest against the Congress policy of prohibition will consider 
on Tuesday, the invitation extended to it to participation in the 
observance of “Deliverance Day”. The sub-committee consists 
of nearly 50 leading Parsis including Mr. M. P Khareghat, 
President of the Parsi Panchayat, Sir Cowasjee Jehangir, 
Sir H. P. Mody and Sir Byramjee Jeejeebhoy. 

Dr. Ambedkar, in a talk with a representative of this 
Paper on Monday said: 

“Eversince The Times of India published my cryptive reply 
to its representative only last week, supporting Mr. Jinnah’s 
appeal for the observance of “Deliverance Day”, I have had 
numerous inquiries from friends as well as foes to explain 
what I meant. I am, therefore, obliged to explain my position. 

“When I read Mr. Jinnah’s statement, I felt ashamed to 
have allowed him to steal a march over me and rob me of the 
language and the sentiments which I more than Mr. Jinnah, 
was entitled to use. 

“Harijans’ Position” 

‘Whatever anyone may say with regard to the tyranny alleged 
to have been practised by the Hindus over the Muslims during the 


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I AM MR. JINNAH 301 

Congress regime no one can entertain any doubt as to the 
position of millions of Untouchables who had the misfortune 
to be ruled by the Congress Government in this province in 
common with some others. If Mr. Jinnah and the Muslims 
can prove five out of 100 cases of oppression, I am prepared 
to place 100 out of 100 cases before any impartial tribunal, 
I, therefore, am anxious more than Mr. Jinnah can ever be, 
for the appointment of a Royal Commission to investigate the 
cases of tyranny and oppression by the Congress Government. 

“Although the oppressors, so far as the Untouchables 
are concerned, are Hindus, I can assure my Hindu friends 
that this is not an Anti-Hindu move, it is Anti-Congress, 
and, therefore, purely political. If attack on the Congress is 
interpreted by the Hindus as an attack on them, they have 
to thank themselves then for the consequences. It proves 
two things, that the Congress is a Hindu body and that the 
Hindus are attached to the Congress and are not prepared 
to put that organization on its trial.” 1 

• • 


J : The Times of India, Tuesday, 19-12-1939, P-9 
Reprinted: Khairmode, Vol. 9, Pp. 12-13. 


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25 

WHEN BUDDHA STOPPED ANIMAL 
SACRIFICES, COWS WERE 
SANCTIFIED BY THEM 

“Untouchability Was Punishment For Sticking to 
Buddhism” Brahmins’ Adaptability 

A novel theory on the origin of Untouchability was 
expounded by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Leader of the Independent 
Labour Party, in the course of a talk with our representative. 

Untouchability, it may be mentioned, is an institution 
or social practice that is the exclusive property of India and 
does not exist anywhere else in the world. In more than one 
sense it is an institution that is unnatural and runs counter 
to human psychology and social forces. The reasons for the 
origin of Untouchability that can carry conviction, therefore, 
must be such as will override all social and psychological 
considerations. 

According to Dr. Ambedkar, Untouchability is of 
comparatively recent origin and could not possibly have existed 
in Vedic times or for centuries after that period. There is 
certainly no mention of Untouchability anywhere in the Vedas. 
How did it come into existence then ? 

Semi-Tribal State 

Dr. Ambedkar pictures a period when some of the people 
had only recently settled down to agricultural life while others 
were in a nomadic state moving about from place to place 
with their flocks of sheep and cattle. 

The former with their encumbrances of landed property, 
houses, crops, etc., and higher state of civilisation than that 
of the pastoral tribes naturally did not want their peaceful 
life to be disturbed by the pastoral tribes. Nor were they a 
match for the pastoral tribes who were not burdened with any 
immovable property and were for obvious reasons physically 
hardier and more robust. 

To guard their property against the depredations of the wandering 
tribes therefore the agricultural villages engaged the services of 


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WHEN BUDDHA BY THEM 303 

men from the pastoral class whose tribes had been broken up 
by internecine wars. These men were allotted pieces of land 
and houses just outside the villages and their main duty — as 
is their main duty today — was to maintain law and order. 

This duty of defending the villages against pastoral tribes 
they discharged for generations. The relations between the 
villagers proper and the protectors of the villagers living on 
the village fringe were normal human relations without any 
conception of Untouchability. How did it come in then ? 

For that, according to Dr. Ambedkar, we have to look to 
the rise of Buddhism in India. 

Buddhism, says Dr. Ambedkar, swept the land as no 
physical conqueror had ever done in India’s history. Within 
a few generations almost the entire country especially the 
masses and the trading classes went over to Buddhism. 

Brahminism was in the grip of mortal fear. In fact, it 
would have been wiped out had it not been for the shrewd 
adaptability of the Brahmins who were prepared to throw 
overboard every social and religious institution which they had 
championed for centuries and on which they had flourished 
for ages if only Brahminism could be saved. What did the 
Brahmins do ? 


Mass Appeal of Buddhism 

There were three cardinal teachings of Buddha that 
appealed to the masses. His gospel of social equality, his 
demand for the abolition of the “Chaturvarna” system, his 
doctrine of non-violence and his condemnation of elaborate 
religious ceremonials and sacrifices which impoverished the 
masses and created among them a repugnance for religious 
ceremonies. 

The Brahmins of this period, according to Dr. Ambedkar, 
were far from being vegetarians. They were the most 
gluttomous meat eaters, sacrificing cows and other animals 
by thousands, presumably to pacify the Gods, but really to 
pacify their own greed for meat. 


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304 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Truth Behind Vedic Sacrifices 

The Brahmin demand for meat on such an unbounded 
scale impoverished the peasants who had to find the cows 
for the sacrifices and were consequently deprived of milk and 
its by-products, which were their staple means of livelihood. 

The proof of the limits to which these blood sacrifices had 
been carried on can be found even to this day in the lurid 
descriptions of the ceremonials in the Vedas which show but 
scant regard for any sort of humanitarian considerations. 
And so when Buddha came out preaching abolition of animal 
sacrifices and religious ceremonials the masses to whom the 
new doctrines appealed both economically and ethically eagerly 
accpeted them and scrapped Brahminical teachings. 

How did Brahminism save itself from the surging tide of 
Buddhism ? It straight- way gave up all the sacrificial and 
ceremonial part of Hinduism. The cow that was slaughtered so 
far was, to outbid Buddha, covered with the highest sanctity. 

The meat-eating Brahmin became a strict vegetarian. Wine 
bibbing came to an end. Hinduism assumed a puritanical 
covering. 


Compromise with Kshatriyas 

In order to prevent the Kshatriyas going over to Buddhism 
the Brahmins offered them equality with themselves. There 
is actually a verse in one of the religious book, apart from 
scores of other references, observed Dr. Ambedkar, wherein it 
is stated that just as two policemen have to stand on two sides 
of a prisoner to prevent his escape so also have the Brahmins 
and Kshatriyas to act together to prevent the Vaishyas and 
Shudras getting out of their hands. 

How Cow became Sanctified 

The cow being sanctified, sacrificial ceremonials brought to 
an end and a large number of other Buddhist teachings being 
incorporated in Hinduism, the masses who had gone over to 
Buddhism, were slowly weaned back. The one great teaching 


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WHEN BUDDHA BY THEM 305 

that the Brahmins did not accept was the theory of equality 
and abolition of the “Chaturvarna” caste system. But they did 
one thing. They, for the time being, put the Kshatriyas on 
the same level as themselves, relegated the Gods of Brahmin 
birth to the background, installed Kshatriya Gods in their 
places and came to other time-serving compromises. 

Unexpected Development 

A development of a most unexpected nature which would 
have been utterly abhorrent to Buddha took place in the 
process of Brahminical campaign of accommodation and 
compromise. Sacrifice of cows was stopped by Buddha. The 
animal was sanctified by the Brahmins. The Hindu society in 
general accepted the sanctification and stopped killing of cows. 
So did the present-day Untouchables. But the Untouchables 
being too poor to use fresh meat or beef at any time continued 
their age-old practice of eating the carcasses of dead cows. 

Neither Buddha nor the Brahmins had forbidden 
consumption of carcasses. The ban was only against 
slaughtering live cows. But the present day Untouchables had 
committed one great crime. Being the poorest of the poor and 
socially on the lowest wrung of ladder they stuck to Buddhism 
the longest. It required a mighty big force exerted over a long 
period of years to bring them round. When nothing else would 
work, social ostracism and Untouchability were applied. 

Their practice of eating dead cows was exploited against 
them. It was something that naturally repelled the Hindu 
mind. It was obnoxious. The Brahmin could use the situation to 
his advantage without much difficulty. And so Untouchability 
was imposed on the entire class. It was really a punishment 
for sticking to Buddhism when others had deserted it. And 
so Untouchability continues today in spite of education and 
all modern ideas of freedom and social equality .” 1 


• • 


J - The Bombay Chronicle : dated 24th February 1940. 


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26 

MAHARS HAVE BEEN MARTIAL PEOPLE 

The Mahars have been a martial people. The army of the 
East India Company which successfully fought against the 
army of the Peshwa was recruited from the Mahars. The 
last battle between the Peshwa and the British was faught 
at Koregaon in the Poona district. There is a column at 
Koregaon raised by the British to commemorate the battle. 
On the column are inscribed the names of the soldiers who 
fell in the battle on the side of the British. Nine out of 
ten names are of Mahars. The recruitment of the Mahars 
continued upto 1892 and in all the wars, the Mahars have 
proved their martial qualities. All of a sudden the recruitment 
of Mahars was stopped in 1892. Ever since the Mahars have 
nursed a grievance against the British Government for what 
they regarded as very ungrateful conduct. There is much 
justification for this grievance for there can be no doubt that 
without the help of the Untouchables the British would never 
have been able to conquer India. 

The Mahars carried on a great agitation against their 
banishment from the Army. But it bore no fruit. It was 
during the war of 1914 that the British Government under 
necessity lifted the ban and raised one Mahar battalion. It 
was raised at the fag end of the war and the battalion had 
no apportunity to go on war service and show its mettle. It 
was posted in Waziristan in the North-West Frontier Province, 
and it is on record while almost every battalion stationed in 
the N.W.F. lost some rifles and ammunition to the Pathans, 
who are in the habit of raiding ammunition and rifle depots 
to arm themselves, the Pathans did not succeed in stealing 
a single title or a single cartridge from the Mahar battalion. 
It was expected that the British Government, having re- 
enfranchised the Mahars for Military puiposes, would continue 
the Mahar battalion and add to it more Mahar battalions. 
But instead the British Government on the excuse of economy, 
disbanded the Mahar battalion. This caused great bitterness 
in the minds of the Mahars. When the present war came, 
the Mahars hoped that their turn would come. But the steps 
taken by the British Government in the early stages of the 
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MAHARS HAVE MARTIAL PEOPLE 307 

for labour corps and not for the combatant ranks. The labour 
corps is safer than the combatant ranks, but the Mahars 
wanted to join the combatant ranks. 

One of the banalities of the British Government in India 
is this distinction between martial and non-martial classes. 
Nothing has been more disastrous. It is a pity that so great 
a catastrophe as the war was necessary to force the British 
Government to give up this senseless distinction. It is stated 
that Government have directed to raise a Mahar battalion. 
The credit must go to H. E. the Governor of Bombay. On my 
making it a grievance he took up the matter with the Central 
Government and brought it to a successful issue. I appeal to 
the Mahars to take advantage of this apportunity; both for 
their sake as well as the sake of the country and also appeal 
to the British Government to keep faith with the Mahars and 
not to disband them from the army after the war is over. 

Bombay : ( Dr. ) B. R. Ambedkar ” 1 

• • 


The Times of India, dated 18th June 1941. 


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27 

REPRESENTATION RELATING TO THE 
GRIEVANCES OF THE 
WATANDAR MAHARS, MANGS ETC. 

“The Bombay Government levied additional taxes on the 
Mahar Vatans. Dr. B. R. Ambedkar had been fighting that 
problem since 1927. But now instead of relieving the poor from 
the serfdom, the Government added salt to their injuries by 
the levy of additional taxes. The Mahars, Mangs and Vethias 
in Maharashtra and Karnatak met in Conference at Haregaon, 
District Ahmednagar in the middle of December 1939 to voice 
their grievances under the Presidentship of Dr. Ambedkar.” 1 

On 16th December 1939 addressing the Conference of 
20,000 Mahars, Mangs and Vethias, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar 
assured that he would submit the representation to the 
Government relating to their grievances. Accordingly he 
prepared and submitted the representation, dated 14th July 
1941 which is as follows : — Editors. 

To 

HIS EXCELLENCY SIR ROGER LUMLEY 
G.C.S.I.E., T.D., GOVERNOR OF BOMBAY. 

MAY IT PLEASE YOUR EXCELLENCY. 

I beg to submit the following representation relating to 
the grievances of the Watandar Mahars, Mangs and Vethias, 
known as Inferior Village Servants, in this Presidency, for 
favour of Your Excellency’s kind consideration and necessary 
action — 

1. These grievances arise out of the new policy initiated 
by the Government of Bombay relating to the Watandars 
called Inferior Village Servants. They affect them in two vital 
matters, namely : — 

(i) Heavy reduction of their remuneration, and 

(ii) Substantial increase of their Duties. 


J : Keer, Pp. 330-331. 


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REPRESENTATION MANGS ETC. 309 

2. In the matter of their remuneration the new policy 
proceeds on the assumption that the remuneration to the 
village Mahavs was excessive and that the same should be 
reduced. This was directed to be done either by imposing Judi 
(a levy in cash) upon their Inam lands where none existed 
before or by increasing the Judi in cases where the same was 
already being levied. 

3. In the matter of their duties the Government of Bombay 
issued Government Resolution No. 7420/33 in the Revenue 
Department, dated 13-9-1938, in which they have set out the 
duties which the Mahars, Mangs and Vethias will hereafter 
be required to perform the duties specified in the Resolution 
number 19 in all. 

4. To protest against the injustice of this policy a Conference 
of the Mahars, Mangs and Vethias was held at Haregaon in 
the Ahmednagar district on 16th November* 1939 under my 
Presidentship. In that Conference certain Resolutions were 
passed. These Resolutions were forwarded to Your Excellency 
for favourable consideration and issue of necessary order by 
Your Excellency’s Government. For ready reference I have 
annexed hereto copies of the said Resolutions as Appendix I. 

5. These Resolutions were also placed by Mr. B. K. Gaikwad, 
M.L.A., at a meeting of the Backward Class Board held on 7th 
June 1940. Copy of the proceedings of the meeting relating 
to these items are hereto annexed as Appendix II. 

6. With great respect I am constrained to say that the 
Government have so far not given their proper consideration 
to the resolutions passed by the said Conference. More than a 
year and a half has elapsed since I forwarded the resolutions 
and yet there has been no modification of the policy of the 
Government either in the matter of the levy of the Judi 
or in the matter of revision of the long and onerous list of 
obligatory duties required to be performed by the Inferior 
Village Servants. On the contrary, the policy of collecting Judi 
has been going on apace and even pots and pans of poor and 
indigent families of the Inferior Village Servants are being 
attached under the process of the Court and many of these 
families have been rendered quite destitute. 


Month should be read as December — Janata : 9th and 23rd December 1939. 


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310 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

It is for these reasons that I am submitting this Memorial 
to Your Excellency with fervent hopes that Your Excellency 
will be pleased to give this matter your most careful, kind 
and sympathetic consideration and grant the much-needed 
and long-awaited relief to the Inferior Village Servants. 

I. Reduction of Remuneration 

7. First, I propose to deal with the question of the levy 
of Judi. This policy is for the present made applicable to the 
Inam lands of the Mahars only. It may be extended to others 
in course of time. In the matter of the levy of Judi on the 
Inam lands of Mahars, I do not know the precise reasons 
which have led Government to embark upon the policy of 
reducing the remuneration of the Mahars. They are, however, 
understood to be two. 

8. In the first place the increase in Judi is sought to be 
justified by Government on the ground that there has been a 
reduction in the number of Officiating Mahars. It is said that 
this policy of reduction in remuneration by an increase of Judi 
on the Inam lands held by the Mahars is only a consequence 
of the policy of reducing the number of Officiating Mahars. 

9. At the outset I wish to draw Your Excellency’s attention 
to the fallacy underlying this reason. As a matter of fact there 
has been no reduction in the actual number of the Officiating 
Mahars at all either in general or in any particular village. 
The number of Officiating Mahars has remained the same. 
What has, however, happened is that the Watan Registers 
were corrected and brought in accord with facts. At one 
time in the Watan Register of every village the number of 
Officiating Mahars shown was very large. The Mahars did not 
object to it and that for two reasons. In the first place the 
number shown on the Register was a nominal one and the 
actual number on daily duty was much smaller. Secondly, it 
was in the interest of a Mahar to have his name shown in 
the Register in as much as it served as a proof to show that 
he was a Watandar, entitled to Watan office as well as to 
Watan property. When owing to the self-respect movement 
started by the Mahars, there grew up an antagonism in every 
village between the Mahars and the Villagers. The Village 
Officers started making misuse of the Watan Register and 
called for service the full quota of the Mahars mentioned in 


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REPRESENTATION MANGS ETC. 311 

the Register, although not one-tenth of the registered number 
was ever before required for service. The Taluka Officers sided 
with the Village Patil and demanded the whole number of 
Mahars, specified in the Register to be their duty for all time. 
This practically meant a conscription of the whole Mahar 
population of the village for Government service. The Mahars 
refused to submit to this extortionate and unjust demand, as 
it was impossible for the whole lot of the Mahars mentioned 
in the Register to be on duty for all time as the income of 
the Inam land assigned to them was not adequate for the 
maintenance of them all and a large majority were obliged 
to eke out their livelihood by doing odd jobs. The Watandar 
Mahars therefore carried on an agitation for the correction 
of the Watan Registers by a reduction in the number of 
Officiating Mahars. In this, they succeeded and the number of 
Mahars was reduced. But as I have said this is no reduction 
in the number of Officaiting Mahars. It is only a correction 
of a wrong Record. To call it a. reduction is either to forget 
facts or to misunderstand them. What has happened is the 
correction of an incorrect Watan Register. That being the case 
I cannot understand how Government can, on that account, 
justify their policy of making reduction in the remuneration of 
the Mahars by the levy of a Judi or an increase in the Judi. 

10. Assuming, however, that there has been a reduction in 
the number of Officiating Mahars an assumption not justified 
by fact I respectfully submit that it is not easy to understand 
how Government can, on that account, proceed to reduce their 
remuneration by the levy of Judi or by an increase in the 
Judi. In adopting this course it appears to me that no or little 
consideration has been given to an important circumstance 
which has a great bearing on the question at issue, namely, 
that Watan property falls in a special class and although it 
may be called remuneration, the rule of “no work no salary” 
or “so much work, so much pay” has never been applied by 
Government in dealing with Watandars and their Watans. 

11. In this connection I wish to draw Your 
Excellency’s attention to the following facts showing 
how other Watandars have been treated by Government 
under similar circumstances. When the British took 
possession of this part of the country they found 


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that the Maratha Government had made a very prodigal 
use of its power of alienating the right of the State to claim 
assessment in favour of private individuals and had created 
a very large class of alienated lands popularly called Inams, 
the holders of which were designated as Inamdars and 
Watandars. These Inams fell into four classes namely (1) 
Personal, (2) Devasthan, (3) Political and (4) Non-Political 
and were all hereditary Inams. From the point of view of 
service these Inams fell into two classes : (A) Inams which 
formed a remuneration for service to the State and (B) Inams 
which were gifts and for which no service was required to be 
rendered to the State. The Personal and Devasthan Inams 
belonged to the class of non-service Inams, while Political and 
Non-Political Inams belonged to the class of Service Inams. 

12. During the first 23 years of the British Rule (1818-1841) 
the enormous extent of the claims made by individuals to hold 
lands as Inam was not realised by the British Government. 
It was in 1941 that the question of examining these claims 
was taken up. In 1943 a Committee of two was appointed 
to inquire into the alienated lands of the Southern Maratha 
Country. The inquiry by the Committee appointed in 1843 
proceeded for a period of nine years, till 1852, when the 
Committee was transformed into the Inam Commission and 
its proceedings were given a legal status by Act XI of 1852. 
By this Act, Government were empowered to appoint Inam 
Commissioners with Assistant Commissioners “to investigate 
the titles of persons holding or claiming against Government 
the possession or enjoyment of Inams or Jahagirs, or any 
interest therein, or claiming exemption from the payment of 
land Revenue.” The operations of the Commission were very 
slow and did not extend to Gujarat. It was finally decided 
to abolish the system of inquiry by the Commission and to 
substitute for it a system of “Summary Settlement” to be 
extended over the whole Presidency. This system of Summary 
Settlement was carried into effect by two Acts, namely, Act II 
of 1863 which applied to the so-called “New Provinces” of the 
Deccan, Khandesh and Southern Maratha country, and Act VII 
of 1863 which was applied to the so-called “Old Provinces” of 
Gujarat and the Konkan, 


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(A) NON SERVICE INAMS 

13. The terms of the Summary Settlement Acts applied only 
to two classes of Inams (1) Personal and (2) Devasthan Inams, 
i.e., to Non-Service Inams. The main principles underlying 
the Settlement Acts were as follows : — 

(a) The conversion of all Personal Inams (also spoken of 
as Warshasans) whether adjudicated by the Inam Commission 
or not, into transferable freehold. 

(b) The imposition of a quit rent or Nazarana upon such 
lands on account of such conversion the amount of which 
was fixed : 

(i) By Act II of 1863 at 4 annas for every rupee of the 
full assessment, plus a Nazarana equal to an additional one 
anna in the rupee, and 

(ii) By Act VII of 1863, at 2 annas in the rupee without 
Nazarana. 

14. The extent of the annual loss which Government has 
suffered on account of the relinquishment of its right to full 
assessment by the settlement effected by these Acts was by 
no means small as will be clear from the following figures 

Annual Loss to Government on Non-Service Inam Lands 
held as Personal and Devasthan Inams 

Assessment on alienated lands 
Division less quit rents ( Jud h 

Rs. a. p. 

1,26,529 15 1 

2,86,292 2 3 

2,02,827 3 6 

Total : Rs. 6,15,649 4 10 

15. As stated before the terms .of the Summary Settlement 
Act applied only to Non-Service Inams, i.e., to Personal Inams, 
and Devasthan Inams only. They did not apply to Service 
Inams, i.e., the Political Inams and Non-Political Inams. They 
were expressly excluded from their operation and reserved for 
separate treatment. 


I Northern Division 
II Central Division 
III Southern Division 


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314 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

(B) SERVICE INAMS 

16. (I) Political Inams : These Inams comprised the class 
of Inams called “Jehagirs” and “Saranjams.” They were grants 
made by the State for the performance of Civil and Military 
services, or for the maintenance of the personal dignity of 
nobles and high officials who had rendered services to the State 
in the past. A settlement of these Political Inams was effected 
by the British Government on the principle of settlement in the 
case of Personal Inams, viz., they were continued hereditarily 
for one or more generations according to the date at which the 
original grant had been made, although they were exempted 
from the obligation to render service to Government. The result 
is that these Saranjamdars are receiving grants in the form of 
Cash Allowances from Government Treasury without rendering 
any service whatsoever to Government. The loss sustained by 
Government on account of Saranjams is represented by the 
Cash Allowances paid to the Saranjamdars annually from the 
Government Treasury. The following table shows the annual 
loss suffered by Government on this account : 

Annual Loss to Government on Account of Saranjams 


District 


Cash Payment to Saranjamdars 




Rs. 

a. 

P- 

Poona 


34,091 

ii 

11 

Sholapur 


10,651 

13 

9 

Ahmednagar 


30,590 

12 

5 

Satara 


25,447 

9 

3 

Khandesh 


38,714 

5 

5 

Bijapur 


11,738 

12 

1 

Nasik 


47,037 

10 

4 

Belgaum 


32,875 

12 

4 

Ratnagiri 


1,079 

2 

3 

Kolaba 


1,655 

10 

6 

Dharwar 


30,091 

0 

3 

Southern M.C. 


3,378 

15 

1 

Satara Political Agency 

158 

8 

0 


Total 

2,67,501 

11 

7 


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17. There are altogether 104 Saranjamdars in the 
Presidency. This means that each Saranjamdar is receiving 
annually Rs. 2,500 on an average without rendering any 
service to Government. I might mention that out of the 104 
Saranjamdars, 54 are Brahmins, 38 are Marathas, 7 are 
Musalmans, 3 are Kayasthas. 1 is a Paradeshi Rajput and 
1 is a Mahar. 

18. (II) Non-Political — The holders of Non- Political Inams, 
included (1) the District Officers and (2) Village Officers, who 
were employed by the Peshwas in the matter of Revenue 
collection and Administration. 

(1) DISTRICT OFFICERS : 

19. The District Officers formed a class which comprised 
the old hereditary officials known as Desais, Deshmukhs, 
Deshpandes etc; who constitued the Taluka agency of the 
Peshwa Government for the collection of the Revenue and 
which was replaced by the British Government by the agency 
of Mamlatdars and Mahalkaris. The principle adopted for 
making a settlement with them was that of “Commutation 
of Service” by which they were allowed to retain the greater 
part of their allowances, a levy of some amount varying from 
3 to 8 annas only in the rupee being made as commutation 
and also as a cure for possible defect of title. 

20. The annual loss sustained by Government on account 
of this settlement with the District Officers is given below : — 

Annual Loss to Government on Service Inam Lands held 
by District Officers whose Offices have been abolished 


Division 


Assessment on lands less quit Rent 




Rs. 

a. 

P- 

I Northern Division 

Rs. 

1,04,753 

i 

9 

II Central Division 

Rs. 

3,16,602 

7 

9 

III Southern Division 

Rs. 

3,93,189 

15 

8 


Total Rs. 

8,14,545 

9 

2 


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316 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

(2) VILLAGE OFFICERS 

21. The Village Officers were divided into the following 
sub-divisions 

(i) Those useless both to Government and to the Community. 

(ii) Those useful to the Village Community. 

(iii) Those useful to Government. 

22. Those useless both to the Government and to the 
Community — This Class of Inams comprised of village servants 
such as the Potdar, who, besides being a village Silversmith 
used to assay all the money paid, either to Government or 
to individuals or the Chaugula, who was a kind of Assistant 
to the Patel and also had care of the Kulkarni’s record. On 
the commutation of their Inams, lands held by this class of 
servants were settled on the following terms : — 

(i) In the Old Provinces — the full survey assessment was 
imposed. 

(ii) In the New Provinces — half of the full survey rate was 
taken. 

In both areas, the lands were converted into transferable 
freehold. 

23. Those useful to the Village Community — This class of 
Inam comprises village servants, such as Kumbhars, Sutars, 
etc., who still perform services to the village community. The 
settlement arrived at in their case was as follows 

(i) In the Old Provinces — The lands held were assessed 
at either half or quarter of the Survey assessment 
according as the service performed was more or less 
useful to the community. 

(ii) In the New Provinces - The land held was assessed at 
quarter the assessment. 

The lands of this class of Village Officers being held subject 
to service, were made non-transferable. 

24. The annual loss sustained by Government on account 
of the settlement made with this class of village servants will 
be clear from the figures given below 


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Annual Loss to Government 
by Village Servants useful to 
Commutation is shown below : 

on Service Inam Lands held 
Community on account of 




Rs. 

a. 

P- 

I Northern Division 


Rs. 

79,177 

0 

0 

II Central Division 


Rs. 

72,343 

5 

1 

III Southern Division 


Rs. 

64,256 

15 

3 


Total 

Rs. 

2,15,777 

4 

4 


25. Village Officers useful to Government - These comprised 
the following three classes (1) Patil, (2) Kulkarni and (3) Mahar. 


26. In the case of these Village Officers they were 
not released from the obligation to serve. There was no 
commutation effected with them as was done in the case of 
other hereditary Officers for the obvious reason that they 
were an essential part of the administrative machinery. They 
were as much indispensable to the British as they were to 
the Peshwa Government which preceded it. 

27. From this survey the following facts emerge 

(i) The Holders of Personal and Devasthan Inams do not 
render any service to the State. They are allowed by 
the British Government to retain the grants made to 
them by the Peshwa Government and enjoy the same 
from generation to generation without any obligation 
as to service. The loss to Government on their account 
comes annually to Rs. 6,15,649-4 — 10. 

(ii) The holders of Political Inams have been relieved by 
the British Government from the obligation to serve 
the State. But the emoluments assigned to them have 
been continued. Their descendants are enjoying these 
emoluments from generation to generation. The loss 
suffered by Government on their account comes annually 
to Rs. 2,67,501-11-7. 


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318 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

(iii) The District officers of the Peshwa Government, the 
Desais and Deshpandes render no kind of service to 
the British Government. Their Inam lands, which 
were granted to them by the Peshwa Government as 
remuneration for services, have been continued to them 
by the British Government subject to a small deduction 
in the form of a Judi. This was not merely a pension 
to those with whom the settlement was made by the 
British Government for lifetime. It has also become 
a hereditary pension to their descendants who could 
lay no kind of claim to such a grant. Here again the 
amount of annual loss is Rs. 8,14,545-8-4. 

(iv) The Village Servants who had become useless both to 
the village community as well as to Government were 
freed from the obligation to serve. But their emoluments 
were not wholly resumed. They retained their Inam 
lands and in some cases paid full assessment and in 
others only half of the assessment. 

28. These instances will show that the Government of 
Bombay has always treated Watan and Inam property as 
falling in a special class. It has never regarded it as a mere 
matter of remuneration for service and even in cases where 
it bore the character of remuneration it never applied the 
principle of “ no work no pay.” 

29. The policy now adopted in the case of levying Judi on 
the Mahar Watan lands is a complete departure for which 
there is no precedent. 

30. To prove the utter inequity and injustice of treating 
Watan property of Mahars as mere remuneration I beg 
to draw attention to the Kulkarni Watan. The Kulkarni 
Watan fell in the class of Watans belonging to village 
Servants useful to Government which class included three 
Watans that of (1) the Patil, (2) the Kulkarni and (3) 
the Mahar. The Kulkarni Watan as a hereditary Watan 
continued up to 1914. In 1914 by Government Resolution 
No. 5070, dated 30th May 1914, the Kulkarni Watan was 
commuted and the Kulkarni was relieved of the obligation to 


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render service to Government. The terms on which this 
commutation took place were as follows 

(1) Payment in perpetuity to the representative Watandars, 
their heirs lineal, collateral, or adopted so long as any 
male heir to Watan lineal, collateral or adopted shall 
be in existence, of cash allowance equal to one-third of 
the Akarni (remuneration for collecting land revenue) 
and the Potgi paid for the year 1913-14. 

(2) Continuance to the present holders and their heirs, 
lineal or adopted, so long as any male heir, lineal, 
collateral or adopted shall be in existence of all 
Watan lands subject to the payment of existing Judi 
and when this amount is less than full assessment, 
an additional amount not exceeding one sixteenth of 
the full assessment subject to the condition that the 
additional levy together with the existing Judi shall 
not exceed the amount of full assessment on the land 
for the time being. 

(3) The land will remain liable to the provision of sections 
10, 11, 11A and 12 of the hereditary Village Offices 
Act, but may be excluded from the operation of the 
above sections by the Collector. 

(4) The continuance of the cash allowance as also the 
Watan lands is made subject to the continuance of the 
holders as faithful subjects of the British Government. 

(5) A fractional part of a rupee is to be compulsorily 
purchased at twenty times its value and when the 
fractional part is annas 14 or more the recipient may 
purchase at twenty times the difference to make the 
rupee. 

31. Of all the Watandars, the Kulkarni has been 
given the benefit of the most favoured nation clause. 
He is relieved from the obligation to serve. He does 
not serve, yet he retains his land which is subject only 
to Judi and is allowed to receive in perpetuity l/3rd of 
the Akarni and Potgi payable to him by Government in 
1913-14. Besides, although the right of the Kulkarni to 
serve hereditary was liquidated by Government under 


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the scheme of commutation, still Government has, by its 
Resolution, given him a preferential right to be employed as 
a Talati, an agency created by Government to replace the 
Kulkarni. 

32. Now the question that I would like to raise is this : If 
the principle or policy on which Government rely is “ no service 
no pay” or “as much service so much pay,” why is it that the 
said principle was not applied by the British Government in 
the case of (i) Warshasandars, (ii) Inamdars and Jahagirdars, 
(iii) Hereditary District Officers, (iv) other Village Officers 
and (v) the Kulkarnis, who have all been relieved from the 
obligations to serve but who have been allowed to retain 
a substantial portion of their emoluments ? Comparing the 
treatment given to the other Watandars and particularly the 
treatment given to the Kulkarni, the treatment given to the 
Mahars stands in a cruel contrast. The limit of discrimination 
against the Mahars cannot go beyond. Why is this principle 
applied only to the Mahars ? What is the explanation of this 
invidious discrimination ? I confess my inability to find any. 
On the contrary, I venture to suggest that the principle sought 
to be applied to the Mahars is a wrong principle and that 
the policy adopted in dealing with the other Watandars was 
the right principle. According to the law prevalent under the 
Peshwa Government, Watan property was not only heritable 
but it was also alienable. So that a Watandar could alienate 
his office as well as his Watan property. Watan property was 
of the nature of private property and a Watandar was its 
owner who could do with it as he could with his own. This 
was the law upto 1827 when the Bombay Government by 
Regulation XVI of 1827 declared for the first time the Watan 
property as inalienable and forbade its alienation by any sole 
incumbent of the office or any co- sharer of such office out of 
the family for a term exceeding his life time. 

33. That being the view of Watan property it can be said that 
Government could not have acted otherwise than it did without 
giving great violence to the sentiment which prevails in the 
country among Watandars in the matter of the Watan lands. 
My respectful contention is that Maharki Watan is in no sense 
distinguishable from other Watans and if in the commutation 
of these Watans Government has not applied the policy of “no 


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service no pay,” or the policy of “so much work, so much 
pay” there is no justification why it should be applied to 
the Maharki W atari. 

34. Another reason advanced for the increase of Judi is 
the necessity of making better provision for the remuneration 
of another class of Inferior Village Servants. In his letter 
No. LA 26-F, Revenue Department, dated 11th November 
1938, addressed to Mr. B.K. Gaikwad, M.L.A., Mr. M. J. 
Desai Esq., I.C.S., Deputy Secretary to the Government of 
Bombay, Revenue Department, in justification of increased 
Judi, states 

“3. The standard minimum remuneration of a Mahar in the 
Central Division is land of which the nuksan is Rs. 10/- to 
Rs. 20/-. according to the size of the village or cash allowance 
from Rs. 50/- to Rs. 100/-. There are still many inferior 
village servants who do not get even this remuneration. 
Provision of increased emoluments for badly paid inferior 
village servants has been proceeding steadily. One source 
from which it has been made has been the reduction of the 
emoluments of those whose remuneration is considerably 
in excess of the scale.” 

35. From this extract it becomes clear that one reason and 
perhaps the real reason for reducing the remuneration of the 
Mahars by increasing the Judi is to make provision for the 
better remuneration of other Inferior Village Servants. There 
can be no doubt that all Inferior Village Servants are grossly 
ill-paid and the Mahars are no better paid than other Inferior 
Village Servants having regard to the duties they have to 
perform. But assuming that there is a case for increasing 
the remuneration of other Inferior Village Servants, I must 
respectfully submit that the policy adopted by Government 
for carrying it out is worse than that of robbing Peter to pay 
Paul and is contrary to the declared policy of Government 
and to the provisions of the Watan Act. 

36. In the matter of increase of Judi there are several 
Government Resolutions which lay down the terms and 
conditions under which Government have reserved the right to 
increase the Judi all of which have been referred to, summarised 


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and explained by Col. W. C. Anderson, Survey and Settlement 
Commissioner N. D. in his letter to the Chief Secretary to 
Government, Revenue Department, dated 23rd July 1877 
and which is printed as Appendix IV (c) in vol. II of the 
Bombay Survey Settlement Manual by R. G. Gordon, I.C.S., at 
pp. 496-505. 

37. It appears that there was some doubt with regard 
to the principle underlying this Resolution of the Bombay 
Government No. 6141 of 1st November 1875 in which the 
position of the Government with regard to the increase in 
Judi was laid down. Colonel Anderson felt it necessary to 
explain the same. The Explanation given by him in para 4 
of his letter is reproduced below 

“4. The principle of the Government Resolution No. 6141of 
the 1st November 1875 is clear - it was intended to hold 
the emoluments of the Watan applicable to the last rupee 
to the remuneration of the Officiator as fixed from time 
to time, but it was not desired to make money out of the 
surplus emoluments (of a Watan) ” (Italics mine). 

38. So far as the Survey Settlement Manual goes there 
has been no subsequent Resolution by Government disputing 
this interpretation of the Resolution of 1875 as given by Col. 
Anderson. Nor has there been any Resolution modifying the 
terms of the Resolution of 1875, that being so the Resolution 
of 1875 and its interpretation by Col. Anderson stand as 
the last and final pronouncement by the Government on the 
question of increase of Judi. I, therfore, submit that I am 
justified in saying that the present increase in the Judi of 
the Maharki Watan lands to remunerate other Watandars is 
a direct violation of the Resolution referred to above. 

39. The Resolution lays down two distinct limitations 
on the power to increase Judi, namely : (1) that Judi shall 
not be increased for making i.e., for general finance of 
the Government and (2) and that Judi will be increased 
only if it becomes necessary to increase the remuneration 
of the Officiator. The main question that arises is : - Is 
increase of Judi on the Maharki Watan for increasing 
the remuneration of the Mahar Officiators? If it was, I 
concede that no objection to its increase on Maharki lands 
could be taken. But it is not. Admittedly the increase of 


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Judi on Maharki lands is intended to provide increase of 
remuneration to Bhills, Ramoshis and other Inferior Village 
Servants. Now by no stretch of imagination or by any far-fetched 
construction of the law relating to Watans can it be said that the 
Bhills, Ramoshis and other Inferior Village Servants Officiators 
who are officiating for the Mahar Watandars of a village. 

40. In launching upon this policy of increasing Judi to provide 
better remuneration for Bhills, Ramoshis and other Inferior 
Village Servants, it seems to have been forgotten that under 
the Watan Act each Watan is a distinct and a separate Watan; 
that separate emoluments are attached to separate Watans; 
that the benefits of these separate emoluments are separately 
enjoyable only by families who are Watandars of that Watan 
and that a Watandar of a Watan cannot transfer his right to 
hold office and his right to the Watan property to any person 
who is not a Watandar of the same Watan. A Patilki Watan is 
separate from a Maharki Watan and both were separate from 
the Kulkarni Watan when it was in existence. A Patil could 
not transfer his right in the Patilki Watan to a Mahai ; nor a 
Mahar his to a Patil. That the Judi on the Watan land could 
be increased only to pay an increase in the remuneration of the 
Officiator officiating for the Watandars of the same Watan is a 
mere corollary of the rule of law that any transfer of a Watan 
property to a person who is not a Watandar of the same Watan 
is illegal. It could not have been possible for Government to 
levy an increase of Judi on Patilki Watan to pay the Mahars. 
It could not have been possible for Government to levy a Judi 
on Kulkarni Watan to pay the Patil. For the same reason I 
submit that that is not open to Government to tax the Maharki 
Watan lands to pay for Bhills, Ramoshis and other Inferior 
Village Servants. 

41. On the grounds stated above I have no hesitation in 
saying that this levy of Judi is the most arbitrary and illegal 
act on the part of Government. 

42. In this connection I would like to place before Your 
Excellency the state of affairs which exists in some parts of this 
Presidency in the matter of the remuneration of the Mahars. The 
remuneration of the Mahars comes from three sources : (1) Inam 
Land, (2) Baluta from the villagers which is an annual payment 
in kind made by the villager to the Mahar and (3) cash payment 


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from the Government Treasury. The first and the last are not 
to be found in each district. There are many districts in which 
the Mahars have no Inarm land and no cash allowance. It is 
only the second, namely, the Baluta which is found all over 
the Presidency and forms the principal mode of remuneration 
to the Mahars. The number of such villages is by no means 
small. In Belgaum District there are 317, in Bijapur District 
there are 543, in Dharwar District there are 572 and in 
Sholapur there are 463 villages in which there are no lands 
and in which the main source of income is Baluta to be 
collected from the villagers. The same is the condition in the 
Thana, Kolaba and Ratnagiri Districts. This list of villages 
wherein Baluta is the only source of remuneration to the 
Mahars is not a complete list. But from the data available it 
is clear that while in some villages the Mahars are mainly 
dependent upon Baluta, in other villages they are entirely 
dependent upon it for their remuneration. 

43. With regard to the Baluta as a mode of remunerating the 
Mahars, I would like in the first place to draw Your Excellency’s 
attention to the vicious character of this mode of remuneration. 
The Mahars are Government servants, Government takes 
service from them; but for their remuneration Government 
refers them to the villagers. Such a system of treating 
Government servants will be deemed to be very strange, if 
not disgraceful. The practice is certainly unbecoming to any 
Government which calls itself civilised. 

44. This vicious system of Baluta results in stark injustice 
to the Mahars in the matter of their remuneration. Government 
takes into its calculation the payment of Baluta by the 
villagers to the Mahars in fixing the total remuneration of the 
Mahars. But it is the universal experience that the Mahars 
never get the Baluta. The reason is obvious. The relations 
between the Mahars and the villagers are never cordial. 
There is no village where there is no conflict between the 
Mahars and the villagers. Often it happens that the relation 
between the Mahars and the villagers remain friendly and 
the Mahars work for the whole year for the villagers as 
well as for Government in the hope that they will get their 
Baluta from the villagers. But something happens just at the 


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harvest season which creates strained relations between the 
Mahars and the villagers, with the result that the villagers 
refuse to pay the Mahars their Baluta. Coupled with their 
natural desire to evade the payment of Baluta is this state 
of enmity between the Mahars and the villagers which is a 
feature common to all villagers in the Presidency and which 
is responsible for the failure of Baluta system. The result is 
that the Mahar works in the hope of getting the Baluta but 
never gets it. The Mahar has no power to compel payment 
of Baluta. He is a minority in the village and is entirely 
dependent upon the village. In this conflict it is he who 
has to suffer. What makes this injustice so unbearable is 
the conduct of the Government officers, who take service 
from the Mahars, but who never help them to recover the 
Baluta from villagers. There is provision in law whereby the 
Revenue authorities have power to convert the Baluta into 
cash payment and recover the same from the villagers along 
with the land revenue and pay it to the Mahars. But a large 
majority of the Government officers have consistently refused 
to use these powers to relieve Mahars from this injustice for 
the fear of annoying the villagers. 

45. The Baluta system at one time applied to all the village 
-servants. It applied to the Patil and the Kulkarni as well 
as to the Mahars. But Government discontinued the Baluta 
system so far as the Patil and the Kulkarni were concerned 
from the year 1844 and substituted in its place the system 
of cash payment from Government Treasury. The reason 
given was that the Patil and Kulkarni might — by force of the 
authority they possessed — recover from the villagers more 
than their quota of Baluta. If this reason was a good reason 
for abolishing the system of payment through Baluta to the 
Patil and the Kulkarni the reason for not applying it to the 
Mahars is a better reason. If the Patil and Kulkarni were 
strong enough to recover more the Mahars are too weak to 
recover any. Government seems to have considered only the 
interests of the villagers. They have never considered the 
interests of the Mahars. If they had, they would have abolished 
so precarious a system of remuneration as Baluta for the 
Mahars as well or would have made some provision for securing 
prompt payment of the Baluta to the Mahars. It is wrong for 
Government to have left the Mahars to be paid by a third party 


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326 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

like the villagers between whom and the Mahars had no direct 
contractual relation exists and at the same time not prepared 
to exercise any pressure to see that payment is made by the 
third party. 

46. The question is, therefore, pertinent. The Patil is not 
asked to depend on Baluta. The Kulkarni, while he was a 
village servant, was also not made to live on Baluta. Why 
then is the helpless Mahar alone asked to serve Government 
and look for the payment to the villagers with no legal means 
open to him for its enforcement ? It is time that Government 
did justice by taking the responsibility of remunerating the 
Mahars on its own shoulders. 

47. As to the cash payment as a source of remuneration, the 
sums fixed by Government as remuneration to Mahars are the 
paltriest that can be conceived of. They were fixed somewhere 
about 1869. Remunerations of other Government servants 
fixed in those days have since been increased considerably 
from time to time. In fairness and justice to the Mahars it 
cannot be denied that an increase in their remuneration is 
long overdue. 

II. INCREASE OF DUTIES OF INFERIOR VILLAGE 
SERVANTS. 

48. The Government of Bombay have passed Government 
Resolution No. 7420/33 of the Revenue Department dated 
13-9-1938 containing a list of duties to be performed by 
Mahars, Mangs, Vethiyas in this Presidency which impose 
upon them an intolerable burden and which it is impossible 
for these Watandars to bear. The duties prescribed in the 
Government Resolution came in for a good deal of angry 
criticism in the Haregaon Conference. The Resolutions passed 
in the Conference, which are appended to this Memorial, state 
the objections of the Inferior Village Servants to the duties 
prescribed by Government. 

49. The contention of these Watandars is that they should 
not be called upon to perform duties listed at item Nos. 1, 3, 
5, 9, 13 and 19 without payment of extra remuneration in the 
form of daily wages of not less than annas eight whenever they 
are called upon to perform these duties. In this I am sure, there 
is justice on their side. I have received several complaints from 
the Watandars of this Province that the Village and the Taluka 


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officers require the Watandars to render private service to 
them, such as taking a private chit to distant village, under 
the pretext that such service also falls under one or other of 
the above mentioned items. In this connection, I further beg to 
state that almost all Government Officers are paid Travelling 
and Subsistence Allowances whenever they go outside their 
headquarters and, therefore, it is in the fitness of the things 
that these Watandars, who are also Government servants, 
should also be given proper allowance whenever they are 
asked to go outside their village to compensate them for the 
extra expenditure they have to incur. 

50. With regard to Duty No. 2 mentioned in the Government 
Resolution referred to above, these Watandars say that it 
should be confined to call the Khatedars by “Bataki” or 
“Davandi” and should not be extended to running several 
times after the recalcitrant Khatedars. In this connection, I 
may bring to Your Excellency’s kind notice that in several 
instances the Watandars have to expose themselves to the 
risk of being assaulted and entangled by the recalcitrant 
Khatedars. In order to avoid all such contingencies, the only 
solution is the one proposed above. 

51. With regard to Duty No. 7 mentioned in the Government 
Resolution referred to above which compels the Watandars to 
give to the village officers information about births and deaths 
in a village, they claim exemption. For the reasons stated 
below these Watandars should be exempted from doing this 
duty and the persons concerned should be compelled to give 
information of births and deaths to the Village Patil as is done 
in all Municipal Areas. Sometimes the Watandars boycotted 
by the so-called touchable villagers and are not allowed to 
enter the village, In such cases, it becomes impossible for 
the Watandars to get the necessary information, especially 
about births and deaths in the village and the Watandars, in 
consequence, are punished with a fine for no fault of their own. 

52. Duty No. 15 of the said Resolution calls upon the 
Watandars to remove unclaimed dead bodies. In my opinion 
this is a duty to be discharged by the Police. The Watandars, 
therefore, should be exempted from performing that service. 


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328 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 


53. In conclusion, I beg to state that the grievances 
referred to in this Memorial are crying for redress. I have 
no complete information regarding the amount of Judi so 
far recovered from the Mahars. From the figure relating to 
Nasik district which have been supplied to me it appears 
that in the Nasik district alone the amount of Judi levied on 
Maharki lands so far under the new policy comes to about 
Rs. 2,201-4-11 per year. This has produced a great tension 
and I am afraid that if the grievances are not redressed the 
Watandar Mahars may go on a strike as per last resolution 
of the Haregaon Conference. I had advised them to suspend 
action in the hope that Government will alter their policy 
and do justice to them. But nothing has so far been done. I, 
therefore, request Your Excellency to treat this question as 
urgent and redress the wrong which is being done to these 
Watandars by the new policy launched by Government. If 
the Mahar Watandars affected by this policy go on a strike 
or come in conflict in the matter of the recovery of Judi by 
attachment of their property which I hear is going on in 
some places, the responsibility thereof will be on Government 
alone, inasmuch as the Mahar Watandars will have ground 
to say that they have tried to get their grievances redressed 
by constitutional means and failed. 

54. I would respectfully urge that the policy adopted by 
Government in dealing with the Inferior Village Servants 
should be suspended. The issues involved are very large and 
controversial. They cannot be settled by the executive action 
of Your Excelllency’s Advisers, however competent they be. 
They can be settled only by the vote of the Legislature after 
all sides had the opportunity of putting their case. This is 
not possible now owing to the suspension of the Legislature. 
But the question is an old one and can wait for its solution. I 
am sure that the Mahars and other Inferior Village Servants 
will prefer to wait for a just and agreed solution. 


III. CONCLUSION 


‘RAJGRIHA’ DADAR, 
HINDU COLONY, 
BOMBAY - 14 
14th July 1941 


I beg to remain, 

Yours Excellencey’s 
most obedient servant, 
B. R. AMBEDKAR. 


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APPENDIX I 

Resolutions Passed at the Haregaon Conference 
Resolution No. 1 

This Conference of Watandar Mahars and Mangs, Vethias 
and other Inferior Village Servants strongly protests against 
the policy of enhancing Judi on Mahar Inam lands recently 
brought into operation in the Province under which an 
addition to the Judi out of all proportion has been made on 
already poverty-stricken Watandar Mahars and Mangs and 
demands that the same policy be withdrawn immediately 
and the levy made thereunder be cancelled inasmuch as the 
said policy is contrary to the underlying principles of the 
Hereditary Village Offices’ Act and is also harsh and unjust. 

Resolution No. 1 A 

This Conference resolves that the G. R. No. 7420/33, R. 
D. dated 13th September 1938, containing a list of duties 
to be performed by the Mahars and Mangs imposed an 
intolerable burden which it is impossible for the Watandars 
to bear. This Conference is of opinion that these Watandars 
should not be called upon to perform duties listed as item 
Nos. 1, 3, 5, 9, 13 and 19 without the payment of extra 
remuneration in the form of daily wages of not less than 
annas eight whenever they are called upon to perform these 
duties. 

Resolution No. 1 B 

This Conference is of opinion that these Watandars be 
exempted from discharging duty No. 15 for the same is in 
the opinion of the Conference the duty of the Police. 

Resolution No. 1 C 

This Conference is of opinion that the duty No. 2 should 
be confined to call villagers by Bataki and not be extended 
to running after several times after a recalcitrant villager. 

Resolution No. 2 

This Conference is of opinion that the Maharki Watan be 
commuted on the same principles as were made applicable to the 


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330 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Watan of the village servant useful to the community 
by Mr. Gordon in 1863 and they be relieved from the 
obligation to render service to the Government and the 
village community. 

Resolution No. 3 

This Conference wishes to bring to the notice of 
Government that there are innumerable villages in the 
Presidency where the Mahars are compelled to render 
the services free of cost. The Conference further asserts 
the necessity and urgency of Government assuming the 
responsibility for ensuring the payment of remuneration 
to the Inferior Village Servants. The Conference takes this 
opportunity to warn Government that if no steps are taken 
within six months in this direction, this Conference will 
be constrained to advise such Mahars to refuse to render 
any services to Government. 

Resolution No. 4 

This Conference recommends to the Government to 
appoint a Committee consisting of the Representatives of 
Watandar Mahars in the Provincial Legislature to revise 
the orders of the suspension and fines passed by the 
Revenue Officers of this Province and give effect to such 
order in accordance with the decisions of this Committee. 

Resolution No. 5 

This Conference authorises the members of the 
Scheduled Class in the Bombay Legislative Assembly 
to wait upon His Excellency the Governor of Bombay to 
represent the grievances of the Watandar Mahars and the 
Mangs expressed in this Conference. 

Resolution No. 6 

This Conference appoints a Committee of the following 
gentlemen to give necessary effect to the Resolutions passed 
by the Conference and further this Conference empowers 
the Committee to advise and take such action as may be 
necessary in furtherance of the object of the resolution. 


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APPENDIX II 

Extract from the Proceedings of 23rd Backward Class Board 
Meeting held in the II Advisor’s Room, Secretariat, Bombay, 
on 7th June 1940 at 11 a.m. 

Resolution No. 6 

This Board strongly protests against the policy enhancing 
Judi on Mahar Inam lands recently brought into operation 
in the Province of Bombay under which an addition to the 
Judi out of all proportion has been made on the already 
poverty-stricken Watandar Mahars, Mangs and Vethiyas and 
demands that the same policy be withdrawn immediately and 
the levy made thereunder be cancelled as much as the said 
policy is contrary to the underlying principle of the Hereditary 
Village Offices’ Act, and is also harsh and unjust. Mr. B. K. 
Gaikwad’s proposal No. 2 was discussed and adopted with 
slight modification as Resolution No. 7. As regards the rate of 
payment of daily allowance, it was suggested that a Mahar or 
Vethiya should be given a daily allowance of annas 6 whenever 
he is sent out of his village to perform Government duties. 

(Mr. B. K. GAIKWAD) 

Resolution No. 7 

This Board resolves that the Government Resolution 
No. 7420/ 33 of the Revenue Department, dated 13-9-1938, 
containing a list of duties to be performed by Mahars, Mangs, 
Vethiyas, impose upon them an intolerable burden which 
is impossible for these Watandars to bear. This Board is, 
therefore, of opinion that these Watandars should not be 
called upon to perform duties listed at item Nos. 1,3, 5, 9, 13 
and 19 without payment of extra remuneration in the form 
of daily wages of not less than annas six whenever they are 
called upon to perform these duties. 

(a) The Board is of opinion that Watandars be exempted 
from discharging duty No. 15 as it is, in the opinion 
of the Board, a duty that should be discharged by the 
Police. 

(b) The Board is of opinion that No. 2 should be confined 


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332 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

to call the Khatedars by “Bataki” or “Davandi” and not 
be extended to running several times after recalcitrant 
Khatedars. 

(c) The Board is of opinion that the Watandar Mahars, 
Mangs, Vethiyas be exempted from discharging duty 
No. 7 and the persons concerned should be compelled 
to give information of births and deaths to the Village 
Patil as is done in all Municipalities. 

(Mr. B.K. GAIKWAD) 

Resolution No. 8 

This Board wishes to bring to the notice of Government 
that there is innumerable villages in the Province of Bombay 
where the Mahars, Mangs and Vethiyas are compelled to 
render Government services without any remuneration. 

This Board, therefore, strongly recommends to Government 
that no services should be demanded from the Inferior 
Village Servants without giving them proper and adequate 
remuneration. 


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APPENDIX III 

Inferior Village Servants 
Duties of 

GOVERNMENT OF BOMBAY 
REVENUE DEPARTMENT 
Resolution No. 7420/33 
Bombay Castle, 13th September 1938. 

Government Memorandum, No. 7420-F/33, dated the 27th 

N. D 

January 1938 to the Commissioner, C. D 

~s7d~ 

Letter From the Commissioner, N.D., No. W. T. N. 1062, 
dated the 25th February 1938. 

Letter From the Commissioner, CD., No. W. T. N. 2/27, 
dated the 22nd March 1938. 

Letter From the Commissioner, S.D., No. W. T. N. 860, 
dated the 26th April 1938. 

RESOLUTION Requests have frequently been made to 
Government to have the duties of Inferior Village Servants 
useful to Government defined so that they may know 
exactly what is required of them and not be made to render 
personal services to Government officers. Orders have been 
issued in paragraph 5 of Government Circular Memorandum, 
Political and Reforms Department, No. 1581/34, dated 25th 
August 1937, that no personal service should be accepted 
by Government servants without payment. The statement 
attached hereto describes the duties of the different classes 
of Inferior Village Servants. 

2. The Oriental Translator to Government should be requested 
to translate the Statement into Gujarati, Marathi, Kanare and 
Urdu and to furnish the translations to the Manager, Government 
Central Press, for printing. The Manager should supply-printed 
copies of the translations to the Collectors in accordance with 
their requirements, which should be communicated direct 


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334 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

to him within one month of the date of this resolution. Copies 
of the printed translations should be supplied to every Talati 
and Patil. A copy should also be placed prominently in every 
village chavdi. In villages where there are no chavdis the 
copies should be displayed in some other public place. 

3. The cost of printing the translations should be debited, 
for the purpose of press proforma account, to the head “25 
General Administration.” 

By order of the Governer of Bombay. 

M. J. Desai, 

Deputy Secretary to Government. 

Accompaniment to Government Resolution, Revenue 
Department, No. 7420/33, dated 13th September 1938 

STATEMENT SHOWING LISTS OF THE DUTIES OF 
DIFFERENT CLASSES OF INFERIOR VILLAGE 
SERVANTS 

Duties of Mahars, Dheds, Vethias, Bhangis and Madhavis 

(1) To carry Government remittances to the Sub-treasury. 

(2) To call the villagers at the chavdi to pay Government 
dues. 

(3) To carry the village daftar to and from the taluka 
kacheri. 

(4) To keep a watch on government money and office records 
at the village and on property attached for recovery of 
Government dues. 

(5) To take Government tapal to and from the taluka office 
and to take Government post officers on tour, where 
there are facilities for transport. 

(6) To accompany village officers and touring officers at 
the time of crop and boundary mark inspection, and 
to show roads to officers and other travellers. 

(7) To take news of births and deaths to village officers. 

(8) To carry distrained moveable property to the village chavdi. 


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(9) To summon persons on whom notices, etc., are to be 
served and assist the Police Patil in serving summonses 
issued by Magistrates, Police, etc. 

(10) To carry chains and cross-staff, plane table and other 
instruments of the measurers to the field for Government 
work. 

(11) To accompany the Police Patil and Police at the time of 
the night round where there are no jaglyas appointed 
to do the work. 

(12) To publish Government orders in the village by beat 
of drums. 

(13) To take impounded cattle to the kacheri for auction 
when necessary. 

(14) To assist the vaccinator in collecting children for 
vaccination. 

(15) To help in the disposal of unclaimed dead bodies found 
in a village and to help the police in the removal of 
dead bodies for post-mortem examination wherever 
called upon by the police to do so. 

(16) To help the Police Patil in case of accidental deaths 
and fires and outbreaks of epdemics and epixootics. 

(17) To report movements of members of the criminal tribes 
and criminals and to assist the police in investigation 
of and prevention of the commission of crimes, 

(18) To keep guard over prisoners in the Police Path’s 
custody. 

(19) To set up camp offices in the village. 

Duties of Ramoshis or Ravanias and Vartanias 

(1) To be present at the chavdi at the time of the collection 
of the land revenue. 

(2) To accompany Mahars or Dheds carrying remittance 
to the taluka headquarters. 

(3) To render assistance to Government officers on duty 
in the village for Government work. 

(4) To watch property attached for recovery of Government dues. 


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(5) To call villagers in the collection season when necessary. 

(6) To do a round at night and help the police in patrolling 
on night duty in the arrest of criminals, in the detection 
of crime and at the time of inquests on accidental 
deaths. 

(7) To assist in the prevention of the commission of thefts 
and other offences. 

(8) To report the movements of criminal tribes and notorious 
criminals to the Police Patil and about criminal offences 
and accidents, etc. 

(9) To carry the daftar of village officers. 

(10) To assist the village officers at the time of the recovery 
of land revenue. 

(11) To accompnay the village officers at the time of the 
crop inspection. 

(12) To Keep guard over persons in the custody of Police 
Patil. 

Duties of Chaugulas and Naikwadis 

(1) To carry the daftar of the village officers. 

(2) To assist the village officers at the time of the recovery 
of the land revenue. 

(3) To accompany the village officers at the time of the 
crop inspection. 

(4) To keep the village chavdi clean and light the lamps 
there. 

Duties of Jaglyas 

(1) To keep watch at night, to find out all arrival and 
departures, to observe strangers and to report all 
suspicious persons to the Police Patil. 

(2) To trace a thief by footsteps. 

(3) To assist the police in the investigation of crime. 

(4) To accompany remittances from the village to the taluka. 

(5) To accompany village officers at the time of crop and 
boundary marks inspection. 


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Duties of Talbadas and Kolis 

(1) To clean the chavdi by sweeping and cowdunging it 
and to light lamp in it. 

(2) To assist village officers in the work of crop and 
boundary marks inspection. 

(3) To make bandobast when Government officers camp in 
the village so far as the public duties of these officers 
require it. 

Duties of Samadis or Walikars, Talwars, Holkars and Ugranis 

(1) To help the village officers in the collection of 
Government revenue. 

(2) To help the Police Patil in serving summonses, etc., 
issued by magistrates and the police. 

(3) To keep watch over the village records and public money, 
or “Muddemal” in cases when there is occasion for it 
to be done at the village. 

(4) To excort the remittances of treasury or money to the 
taluka or mahal sub-treasury. 

(5) To carry the post of the village and touring officers 
from place to place where there are no other facilities 
for its transport. 

(6) To do night patroling in the village. 

(7) To keep guard over prisoners in the Police Path’s 
custody. 

(8) To show the way to touring officers from village to 
village where there are no roads, at walking pace, to the 
minimum extent necessary to give adequate directions. 

(9) To report information about births and deaths to the 
Police Patil. 

(10) To call villagers to the village chavdi when they are 
required for Government work. 

(11) To accompany village officers and other officers on field 
inspections. 

(12) To assist vaccinators in collecting children for 
vaccination. 


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(13) To carry village records from village to taluka and vice 
versa. 

(14) To assist village officers when on tour in the village in 
the performance of their public duties. 

(15) To keep the village chavdis clean. 

(16) To set up camp offices in the village. 

Duties of Barkers 

(1) To keep the village chavdi clean. 


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28 

I SHALL BE MORE DEADLY AGAINST THE 
BRITISHERS THAN HINDUS IF 

The Viceroy constituted the Defence Council of India on 
27th July 1941. There were Eight Indians out of total thirteen 
members. Dr. B. R. Ambedkar was one of the members of 
the Council. He expressed his views about the evil policies 
of Britishers — Editors. 

“I have directed for these many years bitter and virulent 
attacks on Hindu Society and its numerous evils, but I can 
assure you that I shall direct attack a hundred-fold more 
bitter, more virulent, more deadly against the Britishers 
than I have done against Hindus if my loyalty is going to be 
exploited for crushing my own people and taking away from 
them last dry bone from which they draw their sustenance.” 

(Ten Years To Freedom, Pp. 58-59) 1 . 

• • 


J : Quoted, Khairmode, Vol. 9, P. 130. 


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EXCLUSION OF DEPRESSED CLASSES 
FROM VICEROY’S COUNCIL 
AS AN OUTRAGE AND BREACH OF FAITH 

Bombay, Thursday* * 

“Depressed Classes regard their exclusion from the Viceroy’s 
reconstituted Council as an outrage and breach of faith,” 
says Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Leader of the Depressed Classes 
in a cable addressed to the Secretary to State for India, 
Mr. L. S. Amery. 

The cable adds: “Your flouting of 60 million Depressed 
Classes altogether and giving 43 per cent representation 
to Muslims, which is nearly equal to that of Hindus, is 
astounding. Government appears to have been mortgaged to 
some communities only. 

After solemnly recognising the Depressed Classes as 
an important distinct element in the Indian national life 
after insisting that their consent to constitutional changes 
is essential after exploiting their co-operation in war, their 
exclusion from the Council bespeaks of want of good faith on 
your part. 

Protesting in the interest and name of the Depressed 
Classes, personally I have never asked, depended or had 
support from the British. I can do without it in future. You 
are absolutely free in your choice. 

I want justice for the Depressed Classes. I warn you that 
the Depressed Classes are not prepared to surrender their 
right to representation in the Council. I strongly urge you 
to recognise the same. Adding one member to the Council 
cannot hurt.” 


• • 


The Free Press Journal: dated 1st August 1941. 

*31st July 1941. 


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CONFERENCE OF ALL LEADERS OF THE 
DEPRESSED CLASSES ALL OVER INDIA 

Bombay, September 26, 1941 

“The “United Press” learns that a decision to mobilise 
all forces of the Depressed Classes in the country under one 
political body which will speak with authority and represent 
the interests of the sixty millions population of the Depressed 
Classes in Maharashtra held in Bombay yesterday, Dr. B. R. 
Ambedkar, Leader of the Community, and Mr. P. N. Rajbhoj, 
President of the All-India Harijan Political Conference, were 
among others present. 

It was decided at the meeting, the “United Press” further 
learns, to hold a conference of all leaders of the Depressed 
Classes all over India under the guidance of Dr. Ambedkar 
for the purpose during the last week of October either at 
Bombay or at Poona. Mr. Rajbhoj was appointed convener of 
the proposed conference, exact date and venue of which will be 
announced after consultation with Depressed Classes leader. 

It is further learnt that the proposed body of the Depressed 
Classes will be a permanent one on the lines of other political 
bodies like the Muslim League or the Hindu Mahasabha. — 
United Press.” 1 

• • 


Bombay Chronicle, dated 27th September 1941. 


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Dr. AMBEDKAR AND THE JEWISH PEOPLE 

“Fifty years ago in a special interview with the editor of a 
monthly Jewish publication in Bombay (The Jewish Advocate, 
November 1941), one of the India’s most respected leaders 
expressed openly his admiration for the pioneering efforts of 
the Jews in Palestine “in respect of the Social order that was 
being created there” (in Palestine) as he said. 

It was none other than the “Father of Indian Constitution” 
and the Leader of the Depressed Classes in India, Dr. 
Ambedkar. 

Dr. Ambedkar whose centenary is being celebrated all 
over the world, was among the few. In the Indian National 
Movement who was aware of and consequently sympathised 
with, the Jewish National Movement in Israel (then Palestine 
under British rule). 

To understand the specialities Dr. Ambedkar had with 
the Jewish people one should read his article “Moses and His 
Significance ” published in the Bombay Sentinel probably the 
same year, 1941. In this masterpiece of a short essay about 
the Biblical Leader Moses, Dr. Ambedkar exposes to the roots 
of his special attitude towards the Jewish people. Due to its 
importance, I feel it is only appropriate to reprint it once again. 

“The story of the Jews told in the Old Testament is a 
moving tale. It has few parallels. It is told in a simple but 
thrilling language. The pathos inherent in the subjugation 
and ultimate emancipation of the Jews cannot, but affect the 
emotions of those who are as depressed as the Jews were in 
Egypt in the days of Pharaoh. But the heart of every one who 
is working for emancipation of a depressed people is bound 
to go to Moses, the man who brought about the emancipation 
of the Jews.” 

“What did Moses not do for the Jews ? He led them out of 
Egypt, out of bondage, he laid the foundation for their religion 


Dr. Ambedkar was interviewed by Glora Becher, Consul of Israel in 
Bombay — Editors. 


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DR. AMBEDKAR JEWISH PEOPLE 343 

by bringing the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai. He 
gave them laws for social, civil and religious purpose and 
instructions for building the tabernacle.” 

“What did Moses not suffer at the hands of the followers ”? 
When the children of Israel left Egypt and were pursued and 
attacked by the army of Pharaohs they were sore and said 
unto Moses, ‘Because there were no graves in Egypt, has thou 
taken us away to die ?’ It has been better for us to serve the 
Egyptians than that we should die in wilderness.” 

“The marching Israel came to Elim and camped there. There 
was not sufficient water for them all. They all shouted, give 
us water wherefore is this that thou hast brought us out of 
Egypt to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst ? 
They were ready to stone him because there was no water.” 

“Moses went up to Mount Sinai and delayed to come down. 
Immediately the Jews went to Aaron and said unto him. ‘Make 
for us Gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses 
the man that brought us out of the land of Egypt,’ we woe 
not what has become of him.” 

Even his leadership was challenged. The Old Testament 
records that Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because 
of the Ethiopian woman he had married and they said, “Hath 
the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses ? Hath he not spoken 
also by us ? Yet Moses bore their calumny, their abuse, 
tolerated their impatience and served them with the fullness 
of his heart. 

“As the Old Testament truly says : ‘There arose not a 
Prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew 
face to face’. Moses was not merely a great leader of the Jews. 
He is a leader whose birth, any downtrodden community may 
pray for.” 

“Whatever interest others may have felt in the story of 
the exodus and the leadership of Moses they have been to 
me a source of perennial inspiration and hope.” 

“I believe that just as there was a land of promise for the 
Jews, so the Depressed Classes must be destined to have their 
land of promise. I trust that just as the Jews reached their 
land of promise, so will be the Depressed Classes in the end 
reach their land of promise.” 


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344 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

“I see in the present day condition of the Depressed Classes 
of India a parallel to the Jews in their captivity in Egypt. In 
Moses I see a leader whose infinite love for his people has 
given undaunted courage to face hardships and bear calumny.” 

“I confess that if any thing sustains me in my efforts to 
emancipate the Depressed Classes, it is the story of Moses 
undertaking the thankless but noble task of leading Jews out 
of their captivity.” 

It is only natural that the Jewish people have always looked 
at Dr. Ambedkar and his life’s work with absolute admiration. 
His struggle for the weakest sector of society has found an 
echo in the hearts of those who for many hundreds of years 
since their expulsion from their “Promised land” — Israel — were 
suffering from discrimination and persecution just becasue of 
being different from the majority around. 

We in Israel are till today proud of Dr. Ambedkar’s support 
in our struggle for rebuilding our national home in Israel. 

{Courtesy : News from Israel).” 1 

• • 


J : Praja bandhu, dated 30th December 1991. 


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32 

I AM NOT LEAST INTERESTED 
IN FORMATION OF MINISTRY 

Bombay, Saturday* 

“I am not in the least interested in the formation of Ministry 
in Bombay”, said Dr. B. R. Ambedkar in an interview to a 
representative of the “Chronicle”, referring to a New Delhi 
message of November 25, in this connection. The message 
suggested that during his stay in New Delhi next week, 
Dr. Ambedkar was expected to meet the Viceroy “presumably” 
in connection with the formation of Ministry in Bombay on 
the lines of Orissa. 

“There is absolutely no foundation for this suggestion”, 
added Dr. Ambedkar. 

The news as contained in the New Delhi message that 
“certain individuals have already seen the Viceroy” in 
connection with Ministry formation does not seem to have 
any basis. An attempt at Ministry formation is necessarily 
to be preceded by feelers with a view to find out possible 
weak spots in the Congress Party. There is no indication of 
any attempt so far in the matter of weaning away any of the 
members of the Congress Legislature Party. 

That Orissa will never be repeated in Bombay is the 
opinion expressed in Congress Circles. A prominent member 
of the Congress Legislature Party said that he had not the 
least doubt about the solidarity of the party.” 1 


• • 


*The 29th November 1941. 

J : The Bombay Chronicle : dated 30th November 1941. 


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33 

HINDUISM IS POLITICAL IDEOLOGY 
AS THE SAME CHARACTER AS 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar in a statement says : — 

General Chiang Kai-Shek has made an appeal to the British 
Government to give the people of India without waiting for 
any demands on their part real political power as speedily as 
possible. But he has not given any solution of the difficulties 
which have come in the way of such a consummation. 
The diffculty is caused by the Congress not accepting the 
fundamental feature of the August Declaration made by the 
Viceroy that the future Constitution of India must have the 
consent of certain important elements in the national life of 
India. Equally, the difficulty is due to the British Government 
not realizing what its responsibility is. The Congress cannot 
expect any sane person who knows anything about conditions in 
India to agree to the Government of the country being placed 
in the hands of the Hindu majority, simply because it is a 
majority. The Congress chooses to forget that Hinduism is a 
political ideology of the same character as the Fascist and or 
Nazi ideology and is thoroughly anti-democratic. If Hinduism is 
let loose — which is what Hindu majority means — it will prove 
a menace to the growth of others who are outside Hinduism 
and are opposed to Hinduism. This is not the point of view of 
Muslims alone. It is also the point of view of the Depressed 
Classes and also of the non-Brahmins. 

Only Antidote 

I think it is possible for the British Government to make 
a declaration in terms on the following lines : — 

(1) That it is proposed to raise India to the status of a 
Dominion Status within three years from the date of 
peace, 

(2) That for the speedy consummation of that end, the 
elements in the national life of India will be required 
to produce an agreed solution of their constitutional 
difference within one year from the date of the signing 
of the armistice, 


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HINDUISM CHARACTER AS 347 

(3) That failing agreement the British Government would 
submit the dispute to an International Tribunal for 
decision, and 

(4) That when such decision is given the British Government 
shall undertake to give effect to it as a part of the 
Dominion Constitution for India. 

Such a declaration must satisfy all reasonable people. As 
far as I am able to see, it meets Mr. Jinnah’s point of view 
and the point of view of the Depressed Classes that there must 
be an agreed solution of the communal problem. It also meets 
the Congress point of view that no element in the national 
life of British India should be allowed the power to veto the 
birth of a Dominion Consitution. The arguments that we are 
in the midst of the war is no argument against making the 
declaration. Indeed, it is an argument in favour of it. 

Harijan-Muslim Bone of Contention 

Should the declaration be accompanied by a National 
Government ? It would be better if it could be done. But there 
is a diffculty for which Mr. Jinnah is making two demands : (1) 
One is ultimate, namely Pakistan; (2) The other is immediate, 
namely 50 per cent representation in the Cabinet. 

1 can quite understand the demand for Pakistan when 
Mr. Jinnah says that the Muslims are a nation, I feel no reason 
to quarrel. When Mr. Jinnah says the Muslims must have 
Pakistan because they are a nation, I say have it, if you do 
not thereby run away with a large belt of Hindu population, 
who on your own theory are of different nationality. 

With regard to Pakistan I feel like pointing out that 
Mr. Jinnah seems to be counting his chickens before they are 
hatched, and reckoning without the host. 

The N. W. F. is the most integral part of this Pakistan. 
Mr. Jinnah must admit that he is not the host of the N. W. F. 
The host is Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan. Without his consent, 
there could be no Pakistan. Rather than carry on a whirlwind 
propaganda in favour of Pakistan, Mr. Jinnah should spend 
his time and energy in converting Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan. 
That is, however, a matter for Jinnah to consider. As I said, 
I can understand Pakistan. 


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348 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Monstrous 

But I cannot understand this demand for 50 per cent 
representation for the Muslim community. Nor can I see 
how this immediate demand of 50 per cent is related to the 
ultimate demand of Pakistan. I am sure this demand of the 
Muslim League is a monstrous thing and I have no doubt 
that Lord Linlithgow has done the greatest service to India 
by putting it down. 

I am definitely of opinion that no National Government 
ought to be established in India as an interim measure, if it 
means conceding to Mr. Jinnahhis claim for 50 per cent. After 
all, I cannot believe that the National Government can do more 
in the matter of war effort than what is being done. India 
simply cannot do more, her capacity has not been developed. 
The fault lies entirely with the British Government. They had 
chosen not to develop the resources of India in peace time 
and it has therefore become impossible for the Government 
or the National Government to do more than what is being 
done. If she had been fully developed she could have defended 
the Empire. She cannot now defend herself. She must, indeed 
she is compelled to look to England to defend her from the 
impending Japanese invasion ; such is her helpless condition. 
The appointment of an Indian — as a Defence Member may 
be good, but is that enough ? Without the means of defence 
at his disposal, what an Indian Defence Minister can do it 
is difficult to understand. 

I should have thought that the wiser course for Indians 
would be to ask England to send out to India the means of 
defence, which she is hoarding for her own safety. Therein 
lies the immediate interest of India and therein also lies the 
duty of England. — A. P.” 1 

• • 


1 : The Bombay Chroricle, dated 26th February 1942. 


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34 

WE ARE A SEPARATE ELEMENT 
IN THE NATIONAL LIFE 

A journalist from London, Mr. Bevarali Nikolas 
interviewed Dr. B. R. Ambedkar when he became a member 
of the Viceroy’s Executive Council. Mr. Beverali recorded his 
interview in his book “Verdict on India” published in the 
year 1944. The personal observations that were revealed in 
the interview about Dr. Ambedkar are as follows : Editors. 

‘A man of about fifty, waiting for me in a wicker 
chair on the veranda of his house. Bulky, dynamic. Very 
charming manners, but nervy, inclined to fiddle with his 
shoe-laces. Seemed to be on his guard, as though ready 
to parry taunts from ah directions. Well after all it’s only 
to be expected. 

So runs an extract from my diary. 

The man is Doctor Ambedkar. And in a moment we 
shall see what it is ‘only to be expected.’ 

Dr. Ambedkar is Labour Member in the Government 
of India, and one of the six best brains in India. He 
is the Cavour School of Statesman, an implacable realist. 
When he speaks in public he is galvanic, creative, an 
almost embarrasingly to the point. To comparing a Hindu 
Chart with a fusillade of pistol shots. 

As a result, he is one of the best hated man in India. 

And why is it ‘only to be expected,’ this nervousness — 
this suggestion that he would be ready to take offence ? 

Because Dr. Ambedkar, in the eyes of most of the 180 
million Caste Hindus is ‘Untouchable’. A person to bring 
pollution if his Mayfair dinner jacket should happen 
to brush against their dhoties. A creature from whose 
touch the extreme orthodox must fly as though he were 
a paper, a mouster whose slightest contact compels them 
to precipitate themselves into the nearest bath-tube, 


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350 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

to soap and pray, and pray and soap, and soap and pray, so 
that the filth of Dr. Ambedkar (M. A. London)* the shame 
of Dr. Ambedkar (high honours at Columbia University) the 
plague and scourge of Dr. Ambedkar (special distinction at 
Heidelberg) should be washed for ever from their immaculate 
and immortal souls.’ (P. 30) 

Dr. Ambedkar said to me : ‘The keynote of my policy is 
that we are not a sub-continent of the Hindus but a separate 
element in the national life.’ 

‘Gandhi says to us ‘Trust us-trust the Caste Hindus !’ I reply 
‘We will not trust you, for you are our hereditary enemies.’ 

‘In every village there is a tiny minority of Untouchables. I 
want to gather those minorities together and make them into 
majorities. This means a tremendous work of organisation- 
transferring populations, building new villages. But we can 
do it, if only we are allowed.’ (P. 40.) 

‘We are as staunchly nationalist as any of the Congress. 
But we do not want the British to quit India till our rights 
are safeguarded. If they do, our fate will be mere terrible than 
the fate of any of the oppressed people of Europe.’ 

(Verdict on India, P. 41) 1 


• • 


*Dr. Ambedkar obtained degrees of M. A. and Ph. D. from the Columbia 
University and not from London, but he obtained his degree of D.Sc. from 
London University. — Editors. 

J : Quoted : Khairmode, Vol. 8, Pp. 36-39. 


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35 

SCHEDULED CASTES SETTLEMENT BE MADE 
AT PAR WITH BANTUS 

“ Hyderabad (Deccan), April 22, 1946 : The view that the 
demand of the Scheduled Castes for separate villages was not 
an encroachment on the rights of any party, was expressed 
by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Labour Member of the Government 
of India, in an interview. 

Dr. Ambedkar said that there were large areas of cultivable 
waste land lying untenanted in the country which could be 
set apart for the settlement of Scheduled Castes. Government 
could form a trust to give effect, to the proposal. 

Objection, he thought, would come only from those who had 
been accustomed to using the Scheduled Castes as a source 
of labour which was available to do all the unclean jobs and 
who could be forced to work at the cheapest wage-rate. They 
would like to perpetuate this slavery. Because of intolerable 
condition under which the Scheduled Castes lived in Provinces 
like Bombay and Madras, it was necessary to have separate 
villages for them. 

Dr. Ambedkar explained that the village being a social 
and not an economic unit of society, there was no need to 
fear an economic strangulation of these separate villages. 
The product of these areas would be sent to places where it 
would be welcomed. 

Asked if the demand applied to the Pakistan areas, 
Dr. Ambedkar said that it did. At present there was nothing 
concrete about Pakistan. The question of setting up separate 
villages would arise when it took concrete shape. 

The position of the Scheduled Castes, he said, was 
analogous to that of the Bantu and other tribes of South 
Africa. He did not see why provision should not be made in 
the future Indian Constitution to safeguard the interests of 
the Scheduled Castes in the same way as was done in the 
South African Constitution in the case of the Bantus. — A.P. I.” 1 

• • 


1 : The Times of India : dated 23rd April 1946. 


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36 

HINDUS ALWAYS REGARDED SCHEDULED 
CASTES AS ‘OUTSIDE THE PALE’ OF 
HINDU SOCIETY 

“In an exclusive interview given to ‘Globe’ at Bombay on 
20th November 1946, shortly after his return from England 
where he had been representing the case of India’s 50,000,000 
Untouchables, Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar said he had 
found no reason to modify his statement made in London 
when he drew a gloomy picture of the Indian political scene 
and forecast a dismal future of the country until they were 
laid by a real coalition representing all important elements 
of their national life. 

Asked if he considered it advisable in view of Mr. Jinnah’s 
latest statement and the unsatisfactory state of the country 
to postpone the meeting of the Constituent Assembly which 
is fixed for December 9, Dr. Ambedkar said, “The question 
to my mind is whether the Constituent Assembly would 
have any moral authority behind it if the Muslims absent 
themselves from the Constituent Assembly. If the Muslims 
decide to absent themeselves, I don’t know that the Constituent 
Assembly could do anything if it met on the 9th or any other 
subsequent date. 

WOULD CARRY NO WEIGHT 

“Unless the Hindus presume that the Constitution 
framed by themselves is likely to be accepted by the British 
Government merely because the session in which they met 
was called the Constituent Assembly,” he continued, “I don’t 
see any hope that the formulations by a Constituent Assembly, 
which consists of Hindus only, would carry any weight.” 

To the question, “Do you envisage any concrete fundamental 
basis on which a settlement can be brought about between 
the major political parties, including the Scheduled Castes, 
as represented by the Scheduled Castes Federation ?” 
Dr. Ambedkar replied, “The basis for a settlement between the 
Scheduled Castes and the other major political parties — that 


Jaibhim (Weekly), Madras, 25th December 1946. 


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HINDUS ALWAYS HINDU SOCIETY 353 

is the Hindus and Muslims — is not at all difficult if there is 
good sense and right sense in the Congress. 

SCHEDULED CASTES WANT POLITICAL 
SAFEGUARDS 

“All that the Scheduled Castes want are political safeguards, 
over which there can hardly be any dispute,” he continued, 
“The principal demand of the Scheduled Castes is that they 
must have separate electorates, the reason being that without 
Separate Electorates, all other political safeguards that might 
be granted to them are useless. 

“The Muslim League, so far as I understand, has no objection 
to separate electorates for the Scheduled Castes. The only 
objecting party is the Congress which represents the Hindu 
point of view, and if the Congress could agree to Separate 
Electorates there will be no reason for any non co-operation 
between the Congress and the Scheduled Castes.” 

CONGRESS - LEAGUE UNBRIDGEABLE 
DIFFICULTIES 

“The question of a settlement between the Congress and the 
Muslim League stands on a different footing.” Dr. Ambedkar 
continued, “The differences between them to-day are very 
wide-almost unbridgeable. The League wants to out up the 
country and the Congress is opposed to it. I am unable to say 
how this gulf can be closed and I must leave that question 
to the Congress and the Muslims League to decide among 
themselves although the Scheduled Castes, as Indians, are not 
only interested in the terms of the settlement but are deeply 
concerned in it.” 

Globe’s next question was, “In the interests of unity and 
understanding can you suggest separate representation for 
the Scheduled Castes ; is it not possible to have reservation 
for those sections of the Scheduled Castes who do not owe 
political allegiance to the Congress by means of proportional 
representation ?” Replying, Dr. Ambedkar said, “I have already 
said that if the Congress is agreeable to give the Scheduled 
Castes the right to be represented in the Legislature, in the 
Executive, in the Services, then it must, in all honesty, grant 
separate electorates. Because a separate electorates would alone 
guarantee to the Scheduled Castes the possibility of their electing 
to the Legislature, members of their own who could be treated 


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354 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

at all times to fight in the Legislature and in the Executive 
whenever they did anything which had the effect of nullifying 
the rights granted to the Untouchables. 

BOUND BY PARTY DISCIPLINES 

“To grant political safeguards to the Scheduled Castes 
without granting separate electorates is a fraud which is 
bound to have the effect of giving by one hand and taking 
away with the other. 

“It will be noticed that the Congress has been able to 
elect on its ticket representatives of the Scheduled Castes 
all throughout India in the different Provincial Legislatures.” 
Dr. Ambedkar continued, “ And yet not one of them ever asked 
a question, moved a resolution or tabled a motion in order to 
ventilate the grievances of the Scheduled Castes. The reason 
is that the representatives of the Scheduled Castes elected 
on the Congress ticket are bound hand and foot by the party 
discipline of the Congress, and have no freedom of action. 

“It would be much better not to have representation at 
all than to have such representation in the Legislature.” he 
added. 


PROPORTIONATE REPRESENTATION 

“With regard to the question whether proportionate 
representation will be a solution of this dispute, I might 
say that I have considered the question and I find that it 
will not work because if we keep the number of members of 
the Legislature within the bounds now prescribed or which 
may be regarded as reasonable, nowhere will the Scheduled 
Castes, be able to have the quota of voter necessary to have 
their own men elected in the Legislature.” 

Dr. Ambedkar next answered the question, “Is it not 
possible for the Scheduled Castes to merge themselves into 
the Hindu community on the basis of a charter of common 
rights, privileges and removal of all social disabilities ?” 

“The question of a merger of the Scheduled Castes into 
the Hindu community is really dependent upon the wishes of 


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HINDUS ALWAYS HINDU SOCIETY 355 

the Hindu community.” he replied. “The Untouchables have 
always wished for it and have tried for it, but they have never 
succeeded in changing the attitude of the Hindus who have 
always regarded them as ‘outside the pale’ of Hindu Society. 

HINDU ABSORPTION A DREAM 

“It is because the Scheduled Castes have come to realise 
that the assimilation or absorption of the Scheduled Castes 
into the Hindu community is a vain hope and is only a dream 
that they have decided to ask for separate electorates. 

“If the Hindus can absorb the Scheduled Castes not in 
the superficial manner in which they want to do by opening 
temples and canteens, but in the real and substantial sense 
of the term assimilation, namely inter- marriage and inter- 
dinning, the Untouchables are always prepared and ready 
for it. 

“It is the Hindu who must convince the Scheduled Castes 
that when he talks about the merger of the Scheduled Castes 
into the Hindu fold he means the removal of the bar against 
intermarriage and inter- dinning. 

“Another aspect of the same question,” continued 
Dr. Ambedkar, “is that in the opinion of the Scheduled Castes 
their merger into Hindu society would become possible easier 
only when the Untouchables rise to the same social status 
which is occupied by the Hindus. In the present degraded 
condition, no Hindu however great a social reformer may be, 
will consent to dine with an Untouchable or inter-marry with 
him, but if, as an effect of the political rights, the Untouchables 
become better educated, more advanced and begin to occupy 
the posts of officers and administrators in the State, the 
chances of intermarriage and inter- dinning between them and 
the Hindus would be much greater. 

IGNORANCE, OBSTINACY 

“From this point of view the political safeguards which the 
Untouchables want are in no sense in conflict with the desire of the 
Hindus to absorb and assimilate them. Because the Untouchables 
have Separate Electorates it is difficult to understand 


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356 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

why the Hindus should find any difficulty in absorbing 
them socially in their fold. It can’t prevent them from 
having intermarriage or inter-dinning and, therefore, the 
whole attitude of the Congress towards the demand of the 
Scheduled Castes for separate representation is marked by 
ignorance and obstinacy.” 

Commenting on a recent statement made by Rev, Gordon 
Livingston in which he suggested Untouchables should 
embrace Christianity rather than Islam, Dr. Ambedkar made 
the following observations : 

HINDUISM’S SHORTCOMINGS 

“The thinking section among the Untouchables are 
convinced that Hinduism, as it exists today, does not furnish 
to the Untouchables the sort of spiritual home and social 
communion which religion is intended to furnish to men. 

“Secondly, the thinking portion of the Scheduled Castes is 
of the opinion that it is not easy to uproot humanity as one 
can uproot and transplant from one soil and to another. It 
is a difficult operation and cannot be treated as adventure. 
It has to be a planned action which would take time to 
formulate and carry out. 

“Thirdly, the Untouchables feel that probably— although 
they have grave doubts in the matter— Hinduism in the course 
of time will so reform itself that it may become acceptable, and 
the Untouchables are, therefore, prepared to stay on where 
they are, provided that during the interval the Untouchables 
get enough political safeguards so as to withstand the cruelty 
oppression and injustice that is inherent in Hinduism and 
from which they have been suffering all these ages, and from 
which they apprehend they will suffer more than they have 
if the Hindu majority obtains calumniated political power 
in its own hands such as would be the case if India become 
completely independent. If the Hindus refuse to recognise 
this situation, and does not grant the Untouchables political 
safeguards they want, I have no doubt that conversion to 
some other religion by the Untouchables would become an 
emergent issue. 


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HINDUS ALWAYS HINDU SOCIETY 357 

WHICH RELIGION FOR UNTOUCHABLES ? 

“Fourthly, although the thinking portion of the Scheduled 
Castes are agreed to leave Hinduism I cannot say that there is 
complete agreement as to which religion they should embrace. 
The matter is still open. 

“Finally, with regard to the question whether Christians 
should accept the 50,000,000 Untouchables into their fold 
without a period of preparatory training (as suggested by 
Rev. Livingston), I should like to say that those who make 
that objection do not seem to realise that the conversion of 
the Untouchables would be the only instance in history of a 
real conversion. Today religion among Christian as well as 
Non-Christians, is a mere matter of inheritance. The Christian 
inherits his father’s property and along with it his father’s 
religion. He never stops to contrast Christianity with other 
religions and make his own judgement as to its spiritual 
value. And historically conversions of Christianity have always 
been mass conversions and conversions on grounds which had 
nothing to do with the realisation of the spiritual value at 
all of the Untouchables convert they will be converted on a 
thorough examination of d iff erent religions and their spiritual 
and social value. Let nobody, therefore, have any qualms of 
conscience that the conversion of the Untouchables is anything 
like a commercial proposition. It is not. If the conversion of 
the Untouchables brings them any advantages apart from 
those of a spiritual and social character, they are incidental 
advantages and not criminal inducement.” Globe.” 1 

• • 


1 : Jai Bheem (Weekly), Madras, dated 25th December 1946. 


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37 

SCHEDULED CASTES’ CASE 
TO BE PRESENTED BEFORE U. N. O. 

“Bombay, Jan. 17, 1947. 

The Working Committee of the All-India Scheduled Castes 
Federation adopted a resolution today, seeking to submit to 
the United Nations Assembly the case of “the sufferings of 
the Scheduled Castes in India against the Hindus for their 
acts of social, economic and political tyranny.” The Committee 
concluded its two-day session held under the Chairmanship 
of Mr. N. Shivraj, President of the Federation. 

The Committee approved the memorandum prepared by 
Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, for submission to the UNO and directed 
the President of the Federation to take early steps to submit 
the case formally to the Secretary of the UNO and to organise 
a delegation of the Federation for the purpose. 

The memorandum among other complaints added that the 
“tyranny and the constant and shameless resort to violence by 
Hindus, makes the position of the Scheduled Castes far worse 
than the position of Indians in South Africa.” The memorandum 
also complains of the “failure of the British Government 
to give protection and do justice to the Scheduled Castes” 
and requests the intervention of the UNO for “necessary 
international action”. 

With regard to the problems arising out of the framing 
of the future Constitution of India, the Working Committee 
declared in another resolution that the Federation stood for 
“a United India and a strong Central Government.” The 
Federation according to the resolution “would be prepared to 
accept the proposals of the Cabinet Mission regarding Grouping 
in order to secure the co-operation of all parties and to arrive 
at a peaceful solution of India’s constitutional problems.” 

EQUALITY SHOULD BE THE BASIS OF THE 
CONSTITUTION 

The resolution stated that the Federation stood for liberty 
and equality as the fundamental basis for a future Indian 
Constitution. “While fighting for the cause of the Scheduled Castes 


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SCHEDULED CASTES’ BEFORE U.N.O. 359 

and without detriment to that cause” the Federation supported 
the “just and necessary demands of all minorities irrespective 
of the communities to which they belong.” 

The Working Committee also expressed the opinion that 
“it was in the interest of India that she should be satisfied 
with Dominion Status and accept it for a term of years which 
was without prejudice to the right of Independence for India.” 

MEMORANDUM TO MINORITIES’ COMMITTEE 

The Working Committee also approved another 
memorandum prepared by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar who is a 
member of the Constituent Assembly. This memorandum 
suggests safeguards for the Scheduled Castes in the future 
Constitution of India. 

The Working Committee directed the representatives of 
the Federation in the Constituent Assembly to insist that “the 
ultimate sanction for the Constitutional Safeguards should 
be lodged in the Central Government” and emphasised that 
“Separate Electorates were the only way of guaranteeing real 
repesentation of the Scheduled Castes in the Legislatures 
without which all other safeguards were sure to be only paper 
safeguards.” 

The Committee also passed a resolution condoling the death 
of Mr. B. J. Deorukhkar, Member of the Bombay Municipal 
Corporation and two other Scheduled Castes workers from 
Andhra, Messers Hari and Dr. Dharmanna. 

Dr. Ambedkar, in an interview to the Press, explained the 
resolutions passed by the Working Committee of the Federation 
and asserted that the UNO had jurisdiction over the issue to 
be submitted by eight crores of Scheduled Castes in India, 
inasmuch as the UNO had jurisdiction over the case of Indians 
in South Africa. He said that he was in communication with 
the leader of Negroes in the United States, Paul Duabois, 
who, according to Dr. Ambedkar, was submitting the case 
of Negroes in U.S.A., before the U.N.O. Paul Duabois, Dr. 
Ambedkar stated, was the founder President of the Negroes 
Association in U. S. A. who was fighting for political, economic 
and social rights of Negroes in that country.* 


*Some words in this sentence are illegible — Editors. 


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360 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Dr. Ambedkar, referring to the “sufferings of the Scheduled 
Castes” in India, compared them with the condition of Negroes 
in U. S. A. who, he said, “are as much tyrannised by the 
White Americans as Scheduled Castes are by Caste-Hindus.” 

Discussing the problem of framing the future Constitution 
of India, Dr. Ambedkar said that he had an ingenious method 
of preventing the formation of an executive of a majority 
community belonging to one party disregarding completely 
the interests and susceptibilities of a minority community 
belonging to another party. He refused to disclose the details 
of his scheme, but said that under the present Constitution, 
the major community belonging to one party took possession 
of the administration in a Province, “thus imposing the worst 
form of tyranny on a minority community.” The helplessness 
of the minority community, when the major community 
makes a monopoly of the executive of the Government in 
the Province should be prevented by a statutory provision in 
any future Constitution of India,” he said. He added that he 
stood for coalition Governments formed by representatives 
of both major and minor communities in different Provinces 
and also at the Centre. 

Dr. Ambedkar reiterated his view that India under the 
present circumstances should be satisfied with Dominion 
Status. “My approach to the question of Indian Independence 
is purely from the stand point of defence of the country and 
I firmly believe that India is not well equipped at present to 
defend herself alone without the help of Britain,” he declared. 
“ If the Constituent Assembly adopts my method, India could 
have the help of the British Army stationed in India without 
British control over that army, he concluded.” 1 

• • 


1 : Jai Bheem, dated 26th January 1947. 


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38 

I FAIL TO UNDERSTAND ATTLEE’S 
STATEMENT 

Dr. Ambedkar, former Member of the Viceroy’s Executive 
Council and leader of the Scheduled Castes in an interview 
with Globe when asked for his reactions to Mr. Attlee’s 
statement on India, said “I have not studied it. In fact, I fail 
to understand the statement,” 

Continuing, Dr. Ambedkar said : “There is not a single 
point in the statement on which I can put my finger and say 
that it is clear to me. Nothing is explicit in the statement. 
Perhaps my intelligence is so limited that I fail to know what 
the statement is about.” 

In reply to the question whether the Scheduled Castes 
Sikhs were part and parcel of the All-India Scheduled Castes 
Federation, and if so, what was their motive in joining the 
League’s demonstration against the Punjab Government. 
Dr. Ambedkar said : “I have no idea as to whether they are 
part of the Scheduled Castes Federation. The question will 
be better answered by the Sikhs themselves in the Punjab” — 
Globe . 1 

• • 


1 : Reprinted, Jar Bheem, dated 16th March 1947. 


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39 

SECURE ADEQUATE SAFEGUARDS 
FOR THE UNTOUCHABLES 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar expressed his thoughts regarding the 
safeguards for Scheduled Castes in the letter addressed to 
Jogendra Nath Mandal. Letter follows : Editors. 

“CONFIDENTIAL 

BHIMRAO R. AMBEDKAR 
M.A., Ph.D., D.Sc, 

Barrister-at-Law 

Bombay-2nd June 1947 


‘RAJGRAHA’ 
Dadar, Bombay- 14 


My dear Mandal, 

Your letter of the 30th May, 1947 was delivered to me 
by Mr. Meshram yesterday. I am sorry that for the whole of 
last month owing to severe pain in my left leg I have been 
confined to bed and disabled from taking any active interest 
in public affairs. I wish to come to Delhi on the 4th by air 
to attend the Union Constitution Committee to which I have 
been appointed. But that depends upon my fitness to move. 
In case I am still advised by Doctors not to move, I shall let 
you know my views about the question of partition of Bengal. 
I have always felt that the British have refused to recognise 
the Scheduled Castes as a separate and independent entity. 
The Scheduled Castes were incapable of doing anything 
precisely with regard to the question of partition. They could 
neither force partition nor could they prevent partition if it 
was coming. The only course left to the Scheduled Castes is 
to fight for safeguards either in a United Bengal or a Divided 
Bengal. I also hold the view that the Muslims are not greater 
friends of the Scheduled Castes than the Hindus and that if 
the Scheduled Castes should by their own circumstances are 
destined to live in a minority whether a Hindu Bengal or a 
Muslim Bengal, the only one course is to fight for safeguards 
for every possible emergency. It is possible for the reasons you 
have mentioned that the Scheduled Castes in Eastern Bengal 


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SECURE ADEQUATE UNTOUCHABLES 363 

will elect to stay where they are even when partition comes. I 
have of course told the Hindus that in case there is partition 
they shall have to agree to reserve some land in Western 
Bengal for the Scheduled Castes of Eastern Bengal when 
the Damodar Valley Project matures and more land is made 
available for cultivation and in case the Scheduled Castes 
of Eastern Bengal express a desire to migrate to Western 
Bengal. This is however a somewhat remote possibility. In 
the meantime I agree that you should work in allianee with 
the League and secure adequate safeguards for them, I am 
not quite so hopeless as you are with regard to the attitude 
of the Hindus in Evelock to give political safeguards to the 
Scheduled Castes. There isn’t a chastened mind. In so far as 
I am able to judge I think they will agree to almost all the 
safeguards that we want. The only thing they will insist on 
is some modified form of Separate Electorates. The Muslim 
League however, will be ready to give to the Scheduled Castes 
Separate Electorates more probably because they themselves 
want Separate Electorates for their own community. So far 
as the Eastern Bengal Scheduled Castes are concerned that 
no doubt is an advantage. 

You have asked me to let you have what demands you 
should put up before the Muslim League. I have formulated a 
set of demands in my Memorandum which has been printed 
and circulated to the Members of the Minorities Committee. 
I am sending a copy of it to you for your information. In my 
view that Memorandum contains all that we need for our 
protection, not only in Eastern Bengal but in every Province 
in India. I think you should make this Memorandum the best 
use in your negotiations with the Muslim League. Of course, 
you are free to add to it any new safeguard for our people 
in Eastern Bengal which you think there are some special 
circumstances which call for such safeguards. 

I have been already apprised of the plight of the Satyagrahis 
in Lucknow Jail. I am sending two of my representatives to 
Lucknow in order to inspect and state the condition of the 
Satyagrahis in Jail. I have also referred to the Prime Minister. 
U. P. Of course, our own people having thrown a challenge to 


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364 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

the Government of U. P. in the form of a Satyagraha, prestige 
release the Satyagrahis. But if some agreement is reached 
with regard to our safeguards in the Minorities Committee, 
I should, of course, make their immediate release a part of 
the bargain. 

With Kind regards, 


Yours sincerely, 

Sd/- B. R. AMBEDKAR 

Hon’ble Mr. J. N. Mandal, 

Law Member to the Govt, of India, 

NEW DELHI .” 1 

• • 


1 : Khairmode, Vol. 8, Pp. 164 — 166. 


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40 

INDIAN CENSUS 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar expressed his opinion on Indian Census 
on 26th October 1947, as follows : Editors. 

“The Census of India has over a number of decades ceased 
to be an operation in demography. It has become a Political 
affair. Every community seems to be attempting to artificially 
argument its numbers at the cost of some other community 
for the sake of capturing greater and greater degree of 
political power in its own hands. The Scheduled Castes seem 
to have been made a common victim for the satisfaction of 
the combined greed of the other communities who through 
their propagandists or enumerators are able to control the 
operations and the results of the Census.” 1 

• • 


1 : Khairmode, Vol. 10, P. 22. 
Place is not mentioned — Editors. 


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41 

SCHEDULED CASTES IN PAKISTAN 
SHOULD COME OVER TO INDIA 

New Delhi, November 27th, 1947. 

“The Nizam deserves no sympathy in opposing union with 
India. I am anxious that no person from the Scheduled Castes 
brings disgrace upon the community by siding with one who 
is an enemy of India,” says Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Minister for 
Law, in a statement extending to them an open invitation to 
migrate to India, issued today. 

Regarding the status of his followers in Pakistan, 
Dr. Ambedkar mentioned that the Muslim League and its 
President had sided the Scheduled Castes only when it 
suited them and in view of the wrongs perpetrated on them, 
he suggested that they too should come over to India from 
Pakistan. 

Dr. Ambedkar felt that the number of Scheduled Castes 
in India was so large and well-organised, they could not fail 
to influence the Government of the day. 

He added : “I have received innumerable complaints from 
the Scheduled Castes from Pakistan and Hyderabad asking 
me to do something to relieve them from the distress in which 
they have been placed as a consequence of the policy adopted 
by Pakistan and Hyderabad towards them. In Pakistan, they 
are not allowed to come over to India and they are being 
forcibly converted to Islam. In Hyderabad also they are being 
forcibly converted to Islam in order to increase the strength 
of the Muslim population there. Further, there is a regular 
campaign carried on by the Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen by burning 
the houses of the Untouchables in order to strike terror into 
the hearts of the Scheduled Castes of Hyderabad so that they 
may never join the movement for responsible Government in 
Hyderabad and compelling Hyderabad to join the Indian Union. 

Open Invitation 

“All I can do is to invite them to come to India. For, the 
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SCHEDULED CASTES TO INDIA 367 

India they are being tyrannized by the Caste Hindus in all 
parts of the country. While in Pakistan they are subjected to 
forcible religious conversion, in Hindustan they are subjected to 
forcible political conversion. They are compelled to be members 
of the Congress and if they refuse to become members they 
are boycotted and their lives made impossible. There have 
been cases particularly in the U. P. where the tyranny and 
oppression against the Scheduled Castes have been carried to 
the length of burning them alive. The tyranny and oppression 
that is being practised upon the Scheduled Castes in East 
Punjab by the the Sikhs and Jats who have come from West 
Punjab have been equally unbearable. The administration 
which is entirely by Caste Hindus has done nothing to render 
them the slightest assistance. 

Notwithstanding the gloomy prospect for the Scheduled 
Castes who are in India, I would like to tell the Scheduled 
Castes who happen today to be impounded inside Pakistan 
to come over to India. The Congress party has weakened the 
political safeguards necessary for the Scheduled Castes under 
the new Constitution to such an extent as to make them 
worse than useless. Nonetheless, our numbers are so great 
that if we are well-organised, we cannot fail to influence the 
Government of the day. 

Muslims Are not Friends 

It would be fatal for the Scheduled Castes, whether in 
Pakistan or in Hyderabad, to put their faith in the Muslims or 
the Muslim League. It has become a habit with the Scheduled 
Castes to look upon the Muslims as their friends simply 
because they dislike the Hindus. This is a mistaken view. 
The Muslims wanted the support of the Scheduled Castes 
but they never gave their support to the Scheduled Castes. 
Mr. Jinnah was all the time playing a double game. He was 
very insistent that the Scheduled Castes were a separate 
entity when it suited him but, when it did not suit him he 
insisted with equal emphasis that they were Hindus. The 
Muslims and the Muslim League, charged as they are with 
the passion to make the Muslims a governing class as quickly 
as possible, will never give consideration to the claims of the 
Scheduled Castes. This I speak from experience. 


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368 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

As regards conversion, we Scheduled Castes must look 
upon it as a last resort forced upon them by violence. And 
even to those who are converted by force and violence, I say 
that they must not regard themselves as lost to the fold for 
ever. I pledge my word that if they wish to come back I shall 
see that they are received back into the fold and tressed as 
brethren in the same manner in which they were treated 
before their conversion. 

“The Scheduled Castes of Hyderabad should under no 
circumstances side with the Nizam and the Ittehad-ul- 
Muslimeen. Whatever the tyranny and oppression which 
the Hindus practise on us, it must not warp our vision and 
swerve us from our duty. The Nizam deserves no sympathy in 
opposing Union with India. In doing this he is acting against 
his own interest. He does not realize that his own dynastic 
rights would be much safer if they were guaranteed by the 
Union Constitution which would have the sanction of 90 per 
cent of the Hindus of India than they would be if he relied on 
the Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen. I am anxious that no person from 
the Scheduled Castes bring disgrace upon the community by 
siding with one who is an enemy of India.” A.P.I.” 1 

• • 


1 : The National Standard, dated 28th November 1947. 


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SCHEDULED CASTE REFUGEES NEGLECTED 

After partition, in Bengal and in Punjab, communal clashes 
between Hindus and Muslims arose on a scale never experienced 
in the past. Both the communities suffered badly. But the ill- 
effects of that dissension were felt even by a large number of 
Untouchables living in those areas, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar had 
received a number of letters describing sufferings undergone 
by the Untouchables by the Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Jats. 
He, therefore, wrote a letter (dated 18th December 1947) to 
the Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, informing him of the 
sufferings of the Untouchables and requesting him to give 
relief to the Scheduled Caste refugees — Editors. 

“New Delhi, 
The 18th December 1947. 


My dear Shri Jawaharlal, 

I have been receiving so many complaints from the 
Scheduled Castes evacuees who come over from Pakistan 
to India as well as from those who have been looked up by 
the Pakistan Government and prevented from coming over 
to India. I feel that the time has come for me to draw your 
attention to their sufferings. For the purpose of giving you an 
idea of what is happening and what is required to be done, 
I am setting out below the causes of their sufferings and the 
measures that should be adopted to remove them. 

I 

(1) The Pakistan Government are preventing in every 
possible way the evacuation of the Scheduled Castes from 
their territory. The reason behind this seems to me that they 
want the Scheduled Castes to remain in Pakistan to do the 
menial job and to serve as landless labourers for the land 
holding population of Pakistan. The Pakistan Government is 
particularly anxious to impound the sweepers whom they have 
declared as persons belonging to Essential Services and whom 
they are not prepared to release except on one month’s notice. 


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(2) The organisation known as the M.E.O. has been of 
some use in helping the Scheduled Castes refugees who are 
anxious to evacuate. I, however, understand that the Pakistan 
Government is not permitting the M.E.O. to get into direct 
touch with the Scheduled Castes who want to evacuate. 
Consequently, the process of evacuating the Scheduled Castes 
is going very slowly, and in some places it is at a standstill. I 
am also told that the M.E.O. is going to be closed very soon. 
If this happens then the evacuation of the Scheduled Castes 
from Pakistan would be quite impossible. 

(3) What is necessary to do is : — 

(i) to ask the Pakistan Government not to place 
any obstacles in the way of the evacuation of the 
Scheduled Castes, 

(ii) to allow the M.E.O. to get into direct touch with 
Scheduled Castes and wish to evacuate, 

(iii) to maintain the M.E.O. till all the Scheduled Castes 
are evacuated. 

(4) So far the Ministry of Relief and Rehabilitation has 
appointed only one officer from the Scheduled Castes to West 
Punjab. But other Provinces of Pakistan such as N. W. F. P., 
Sind and Bhawalpur are left over and for which no such 
officer has been appointed. The Ministry should be directed 
to make appointments to these areas forthwith to that special 
officers could tour the Pakistan area and find out the places 
where the Scheduled Castes are prevented by the Pakistan 
Government from coming over. 

II 

With regard to those Scheduled Castes who have come over 
from Pakistan to Eastern Punjab, they have also sent their 
complaints. They are far more numerous than those coming 
from persons who are impounded in Pakistan. I have their 
gist below : — 


(i) 


(1) The Scheduled Castes evacuees who have come to Eastern 
Punjab are not living in the refugees camps established by the 


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SCHEDULED CASTES NEGLECTED 371 

Government of India. The reason is that the officers in charge 
of these refugees camps discriminate between the Caste Hindu 
refugees and the Scheduled Caste refugees. 

(2) It appears that the Relief and Rehabilitation Department 
has made a rule that it is only that refugees who are staying 
in the Relief Camps can receive rations, clothing, etc. On 
account of their not staying in the Refugee Camps for the 
reason mentioned above, the Scheduled Castes refugees are 
not getting any relief. This is a great hardship. 

(3) As discrimination cannot be prevented, it is necessary 
to modify the rule so that the Scheduled Caste refugees living 
outside the camps should also be entitled to relief in the same 
way and to the same extent as refugees living in camps. 

(ii) 

(1) In the allotment of lands made by the Government 
of Eastern Punjab the interests of the Scheduled Castes are 
completely overlooked. The administration of Eastern Punjab 
being entirely in the hands of the Caste Hindus, there is nobody 
either to take a personal interest in the rehabilitation of the 
Scheduled Castes evacuees nor is there any agency appointed 
by the Government of India especially charged with the duty 
of bringing to the notice of the Eastern Punjab Government 
that the interests of Scheduled Castes are overlooked. 

(2) It is, therefore, essential that there should be a number 
of officers appointed by the Government of India to work in 
East Punjab charged with the special duty of seeing that the 
allotment of land is fairly made and that the Scheduled Caste 
refugees get their legitimate share. 

(3) I have given to the Honourable Mr. Neogy a list of 
persons for being appointed for this purpose who, so far as I 
know, are best qualified to carry out this work. 

(4) (a) It is a notorious fact that the Sikhs and the 
Jats who occupy a very prominent position in East 
Punjab are compelling the Scheduled Castes who are 
residents of East Punjab to evacuate their original 
homes in order to appropriate their houses or their 


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landed property. The Scheduled Castes are unable to obtain 
any redress from the tyranny and oppression practised upon 
them by the Sikhs and the Jats to carry out their purposes 
for the simple reason that the Magistracy and the Policy 
in East Punjab are wholly manned by the Sikhs and Jats 
who quite naturally protect the wrong doers who are their 
Kith and Kin and pay no attention to the complaints of the 
Scheduled Castes. 

(b) It is, therefore, absolutely essential that the Government 
of East Punjab should be compelled to recruit at least 300 
Scheduled Castes in their Civil Police. It was recently published 
in the newspapers that the East Punjab Government had 
recruited some 300 Scheduled Castes in their Police Force. On 
enquiry I found that this recruitment has been made for the 
purpose of the Frontier Constabulary and not for the ordinary 
Civil Police Force. What the Scheduled Castes need for the 
purpose of their protection is recruitment to the Civil Police 
of East Punjab. I am informed that the Civil Police Force of 
East Punjab does not include even a single Scheduled Caste 
person. 

(5) (a) The Land Revenue system of East Punjab divided 
the residents of village into two classes Zamindars and 
Kaminas. In the category of the Zamindar are included those 
families who have an exclusive right to own land situated 
inside the village boundary. The Kaminas have no right to 
buy or to own land situated in the village of which they are 
residents. Even the sites on which their houses are situated 
belong to the Zamindars, with the result that the Zamindars 
if they combine can compel the Kaminas to leave the village 
by asking them to remove their houses. This rule places the 
Kaminas of every village at the mercy of the Zamindars. The 
Scheduled Castes in all the villages in East Punjab are classed 
as Kaminas and are therefore living in complete servitude of 
the Zamindars of the village. 

(b) It is, therefore, necessary that the East Punjab 
Government should be called upon to abolish this distinction 
by altering their Land Revenue system and making it similar 
to the Ryotwari System under which all villagers are placed on 
equal footing so far as the capacity to own land is concerned. 


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SCHEDULED CASTES NEGLECTED 373 

(6) (a) In the Province of East Punjab there operates what 
is called the Land Alienation Act which is intended to protect 
the agriculturists from the money lenders. But there cannot 
be slightest doubt that it is a most vicious piece of legislation 
inasmuch as it contains a definition of Agriculturist which 
is communal and not occupational. According to this law. 
a person is an agriculturist if he belongs to a community 
which is declared by the Government as an agricultural 
community. The old Punjab Government took particular 
care not to declare the Scheduled Castes as an agricultural 
community although every member of the Scheduled Castes 
is either a cultivator of land or an agricultural labourer. 
The result is that the Scheduled Castes in East Punjab are 
debarred from buying or acquiring landed property and are 
compelled to lead the life of landless labourers dependent 
upon the Hindu, Sikh and Jat landowners for their livelihood. 
This is a cruel piece of legislation and I think ought not to 
be allowed to remain on the Statute Book. 

(b) The East Punjab Government should be to amend the 
definition of the term ‘agriculturist’ and make it occupational 
so that everybody who earns his livelihood by agriculture 
irrespective of his caste and creed becomes an agriculturist 
entitled to own and acquired landed property. 

I have enumerated all the difficulties of the Scheduled 
Castes which have been brought to my notice and the 
remedies, which I think, if adopted, will remove them. Some 
of the remedies lie in the hands of the Government of India 
and the rest in the hands of the Government of East Punjab. 
There can be no question of applying such remedies as lie 
in the hands of the Government of India if it has the will to 
do so. Even with regard to those remedies which lie in the 
hands of the Government of East Punjab, the Government 
of India need not feel helpless. For, since the Government of 
India is paying the cost of rehabilitation, it has a moral right 
to compel the Government of East Punjab to adopt particular 
measure which the Government of India thinks necessary for 
a fair and equal treatment of all classes of people. That is the 
reason why I have not hesitated to include for action by the 


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374 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Government of India such remedies as lie in the hands of the 
Government of East Punjab. So far all care and attention has 
been bestowed by the Government of India on the problem of 
the Muslims. The problem of Scheduled Castes has either been 
supposed not to exist, or deemed to be so small as not to require 
special attention. Although some people do not like to mention 
the problem of the Scheduled Castes nonetheless those of us who 
are concerned with the Scheduled Castes know that: the problem 
exists and it is such more acute than the problem of the Muslims. 
Many a times I had thought of drawing the attention of the public 
to the neglect by the Government of India of the problem of the 
Scheduled Caste refugees both in Pakistan and in India. For 
obvious reasons I have refrained from doing so. Owing to your 
pre-occupation with other matters, I have made no complaint 
regarding your silence about this question. But I am afraid time 
has come when I must insist upon your giving personal attention 
to this problem by issuing directions to the Minister for Relief 
and Rehabilitation and to the Minister without Portfolio to relieve 
the Scheduled Castes of their sufferings either by adopting the 
remedies I have suggested in this letter or by devising better 
remedies to effectuate the purposes I have set out. I shall be 
grateful if you will give this matter your immediate attention. 


Yours sincerely, 
(Sd/)— B.R. AMBEDKAR. 

The Hon’ble Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, 

Prime Minister of India, 

New Delhi.” 1 

Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru responded to the 
abovementioned letter thus : 

“Prime Minister, P.M. 

India. New Delhi, 

The 25th December 1947. 

My dear Dr. Ambedkar, 

I have your letter of the 18th December about the 
evacuation of Scheduled Caste people from Pakistan to India. 


1 : Reprinted, Khairmode, Vol. 10, Pp. 26-32. 


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SCHEDULED CASTES NEGLECTED 375 

We have been trying our utmost to help in the evacuation 
of the Scheduled Castes from Pakistan, notably Sind, where 
they have been prevented from coming away. Our High 
Commissioner there is in continuous contact with this problem. 

As regards the other problems raised by you they have 
to be dealt with by the East Punjab Government. We shall 
certainly advise them in the matter and see to it that every 
help is given to the Scheduled Caste evacuees. 

We have had some difficulty in dealing with the East 
Punjab Government in regard to many matters chiefly because 
the multitude of the problem it faces. I shall gladly give my 
personal attention to this subject and am requesting the 
Minister without Portfolio to look into this matter specially. 


Yours Sincerly, 

(Sd/ — ) Jawaharlal Nehru. 

The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar .” 1 


• • 


1 : Reprinted, Khairmode, Vol. 10, Pp. 32-33. 


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43 

GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE IMPARTIAL 

The pitiable plight of the Untouchables coming from Eastern 
Punjab was becoming worse day by day. To get the solution 
to this problem officials from the Untouchables were to be 
appointed in the Relief and Rehabilitation Department. Hence 
Dr. Ambedkar wrote a letter to Hon’ble Mr. K. C. Neogy, 
Minister for Relief and Rehabilitation, New Delhi. The letter 
is as follows. — Editors. 

“ Personal New Delhi, 

23rd March 1948. 


My dear Neogy, 

You will recall that you wanted me to recommend the 
names of some special workers who could be employed under 
your Department for helping the Scheduled Caste refugees who 
have come over from Western Punjab to Eastern Punjab in 
the matter of their rehabilitation. I gave you a list of persons 
who could be employed for this work. I do not know what 
you have done with regard to the names contained in the 
list. There are, however, two persons whom I recommended 
and whom you have appointed, and about whom I propose to 
write to you in this matter. They are Messrs B. K. Gaikwad 
and R. S. Jadhav. Both of them have been complaining to me 
that they are given no work at all and that they are wasting 
their time. They also reported to me that they were called 
over by Mr. Shevakram Karamchand who is the Director 
of the Harijan Section of your Department and who cross 
questioned as to their views on the general politics of this 
country. The impression left upon them, which they conveyed 
to me, is that the Government of India is not prepared to 
employ people because they do not belong to the Congress. 
It seems to me absurd, if not mischievous, for Government to 
insist that its employees should have the same political opinion 
as the Party in power, and I am sure that you do not share 
the view-point expressed by Mr. Shewakram Karamchand. 
What I am concerned about is that these two men who have 
been retained are not given the work for which they were 


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GOVERNMENT BE IMPARTIAL 377 

recruited. Mr. Karamchand told them in the course of the 
interview that the persons recommended by the Harijan 
League were thoroughly incompetent and were of no use for 
the sort of work they were expected to do and that the persons 
belonging to the Scheduled Castes Federation were the most 
competent, and yet these men are not given the responsible 
work for which they were recruited merely because their 
political opinions are distasteful to this gentleman. I am, 
therefore, driven to ask you whether you intend to give them 
any responsible piece of work for which they are fitted. If you 
are not prepared to do that I think it is only right that you 
should discontinue their service and allow them to return to 
their places and do the social work that they had been doing. 
I am sorry I have to write to you in this very direct fashion, 
but when one’s patience is exhausted one has no other way. 

With kind regards. 


Yours sincerely, 
Sd/ — B.R. Ambedkar. 

Honourable Mr. K. C. Neogy, 

Minister for Relief and 
Rehabilitation, 

New Delhi .” 1 


• • 


1 : Reprinted, Khairmode, Vol. 10, Pp. 34-35. 


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44 

BE YOUR OWN LIGHT ! 

“On a balmy evening in May 1950, two gentlemen 
seated themselves on a bench in Bombay’s Cuffe Parade 
and proceeded to hold a conversation. One of them was 
the architect of the Indian Constitution Dr. Bhimrao Ramji 
Ambedkar. The other was noted writer Mulk Raj Anand, 
author of ‘The Untouchable’. 

Forty years later, Dr. Anand recalls the illuminating 
conversation with the Messiah of the downtrodden. 

Mulk Raj Anand : Namaskar, Dr. Ambedkar ! 

B. R. Ambedkar : I prefer the Buddhist greeting — Om 
mani padmaye ! May the lotuses awake. 

MRA : I agree. How thoughtless we are ! We inherit words 
without questioning their meaning ! Of course, namaskar 
means I bow before you 

BRA : That perpetuates submission ! May the lotuses 
awake is a prayer for enlightenment! 

MRA : Indeed, old habits die hard. We adopt them 
unthinkingly 

BRA : In everything. 

MRA: Come to think of it, one is not born stamped Hindu ! Or 

Muslim ! or Christian! Hindu parents give their child 
a name during the naming ceremony ! Sanctified by a 
priest reciting verses in Sanskrit, which the child does not 
understand. A sacred thread is put on his body. And to and 
behold the boy is a Hindu ! 

BRA : Idiocy ! 

MRA : If you by mean the Greek word, idiot-going round 
and round in circles ! 

BRA : One must question all old habits, ideas, practices. 
Education should encourage the new young to ask the teacher, 
one new question a day 


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BE YOUR OWN LIGHT ! 379 

MRA : The best way to teach teachers ! They often don’t 
know what is not in the text book. As a matter of fact, even 
in one’s mature youth, one can only grow by asking questions. 
I learnt this from Henri Bergson’s book Creative Evolution. I 
was in difficulties about various philosophical problems after 
reading Hegal, Kant and Descartes. Bergson said : One can 
heighten consciousness by questioning every philosophical 
proposition 

BRA : Buddha argued with Brahmins about every one of 
their beliefs. They had degraded whole people as outcastes. 
They said, God had ordained you varnas — Brahmins, 
Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, Shudras. Buddha asked : What about 
man himself — the individual ? Because a man is born in a 
family which handles corpses of dead cattle, he is condemned 
to be an Untouchable. All forest people are junglis to the 
Hindus 

MRA : Rejected ! 

BRA : Indeed ! Everyone who works with hand was, and 
is, rejected. Those who skin animals! Those who carry dung! 
Those who do menial labour on the land ! All branded and 
bonded forever ! After five thousand years it is still worse ! 
An Untouchable can’t enter a temple even if he has a bath 
before he goes there ! He can’t draw water from the village 
well — he must take it from the filthy pond outside the village ! 
He can’t graze his cattle on the landlord’s land. He is dirty 
because he cleans dirt. Always considered impure ! An animal 
can be touched, not an Untouchable 

MRA : As a member of the Constituent Assembly have 
you been able to assert the rights of the individual ? I see 
that your committee gives fundamental rights — the right of 
the individual to freedom. But we see that you have also 
conceded the right to property as a fundamental right Does 
not the right to property give a decisive advantage to those 
who have inherited wealth ? So the poorest of the poor, the 
Untouchable will always be at a disadvantage. 

BRA : In our Constitution, we have put forward the ideal of a 
secular, socialist democracy... If every one can have the right to till 
the land from the State tenancy rights then equality of privilege 


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380 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

can be assured and there need be no exploitation. So far 
Untocuhables and even many Caste Hindus and Muslims 
do not have tenancy rights. All these landless peasants are 
mere hands. 

MRA : Then the right to work should have been recognised 
as a fundamental right. 

BRA: I was only one of the members of the drafting 
committee. 

MRA : So you became a lamb before the lions ! BRA : I 
bleated good deal ! I am now roaring ! 

MRA : As a lawyer, you know how the judges will always 
decide in favour of the high caste, upper class Hindus. 

BRA : Of course, the only Non-Brahmin in our 
Government of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru fought hard against 
the night to own property being a fundamental right .... 
But Babu Rajendra Prasad felt that Nehru wanted to 
make India into Russia. The Caste Hindus, therefore, only 
conceded the other rights of man as directive principles .... 
to be fought for in Parliament. 

MRA : Which would be weighted in favour of men of 
property. 

BRA : The socialists can win a majority one day. And 
ask for redress. Any how, the outcastes and tribals have 
been declared Scheduled Castes. They will be given certain 
privileges to uplift them — like reservation for admission to 
schools and colleges and scholarships. 

MRA : The Caste Hindus will always resent reservation. 

BRA : We must organise ourselves. Arouse the 
disinherited to fight. There are more outcastes than Caste 
Hindus — if we include the Muslims who are also regarded 
as Untouchables by the casteists. And the tribal people. 
Together, with the socialists they can abolish ownership of 
private property ! No landlords, no tenants ! No landless 
labourers ! 

MRA : State capitalism might also prove to be dangerous. 
You know what Stalin has done in Russia. Imposed a set 
of bureaucrats on the people in the name of Communism ! 


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BE YOUR OWN LIGHT ! 381 

BRA : Of course, we must protect the individual from 
invasion of his rights from other individuals. Liberty of the 
person must always be a primary concern. That was in my 
mind when I urged for fundamental rights. 

MRA : If that was in your mind then you might urge 
Parliament to revise fundamental rights. We must fight against 
both State capitalism and Private capitalism. You know how 
the vast majority of people everywhere are subject to the will 
of the employers. 

BRA : Indeed, liberty so far seems to be the liberty of 
the landlord to increase rent. The capitalist always wants 
to reduce wages and increase hours of work. Capitalism is a 
dictatorship of private employer. 

MRA : The fundamental rights — right to life, liberty and 
happiness — remain a dream 

BRA : The new young must go on fighting. They can change 
the Constitution. 

MRA : This may not be possible without upturnings like 
the 1789 revolution in France. 

BRA : Strange to hear this from you ! I thought that by 
making Gandhi the liberator of Untouchables in your novel, 
you have been converted to non-violence. 

MRA : I could not live up to the Mahatma’s ideal. We had 
to face Hitler and Mussolini. I went to Spain and joined the 
International Brigade. Though I fainted at the sight of blood 
in a clinic and was asked to opt out.... But one had to take 
sides in the second world war. A poet called the so-called war 
for freedom of the democracies against fascism, the fight for 
a “half lie” against a “big lie.” 

BRA: You know, though the Mahatma was all for the 
Harijans, he did not get up his beliefs in the Varnashram 

dictated by the Bhagwad Gita By calling them sons of 

Hari, the supreme God, he thought he was exalting them. In 
fact they were left at the lowest levels. 


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382 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

MRA : Is that why you have adopted Buddhism as your 
religion ? 

BRA : May be that was the chief consideration. Also by 
remaining a Scheduled Castes citizen, one accepts the status 
of the outcaste. I have felt the faith of the Buddha, which 
does not believe in the Hindu God Brahma aspires for human 
beings, man and women, to be free of dogmas. Obscure myths 
and legends ! One can pursue knowledge ! One can disown 
casteist heroes of the Hindus like God King Ram, the avatar 
of Vishnu ! And many other sentimental myths of Hinduism. 

MRA : Indeed, I find the Buddha’s hunches far more 
plausible than the guesses of the Brahmins. He was the first 
existentialist of the world. He cried out. Dukha, dukha, dukha 
! The Hindus were always for make-beliefs. God is ananda. 
A consolation prize for beggars who ask the feudal Lord God 
for favours by offering gifts of flowers, bribes of garlands and 
fruits ! — via the priests. 

BRA : That is why most priests have big bellies. 

MRA : What is your message for the rejected ? 

BRA: I say to the Untouchable : Be a lion ! Hindus sacrificed 
goats before the image of Kali. You be your own light ‘atta 
deep bhav !’ 

MRA : Like the Buddha said to Ananda : Be a lamp unto 
yourself I ....” 1 


• • 


1 : Dr. Mulk Raj Anand, An eminent writer and author of “The 
Untouchable” — Tribal World, April, 1991, P. 13. 

Reprinted, Rattu Remembrances of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. Pp. 110 — 114. 


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45 

HINDUISM IS THE LATEST DEVELOPMENT 
OF SOCIAL THOUGHT IN INDIA 

“Bombay, Wednesday* 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Minister for Law, Government of 
India, who arrived in the city from Delhi this evening declined 
to comment on reports about his conversion to Buddhism. 

Dr. Ambedkar told pressmen that he intended to start a 
college at Ahmednagar on the lines of the Siddhartha College. 
The College which will give instruction in both Arts and 
Science subject will be started before July next, he stated. 

He is leaving for Poona tonight and returning to the city 
tomorrow evening. 

He said, as one interested in the subject, he had been 
collecting pieces of information as to the causes leading to 
the birth and fall of Buddhism in India. 

Dr. Ambedkar was of the opinion that the significance 
of Buddhism would not be understood unless the exact 
circumstances which gave birth to it were understood. He 
disagreed with most people who were under the impression 
that the religion of India had all along been Hinduism 
“Hinduism is the latest development of social thought in 
India,” he declared. 


Causes of Decline 

Turning next to the causes which led to the decline of 
Buddhism, Dr. Ambedkar refuted suggestions made by many 
people in India that Buddhism was destroyed by the dialectic 
of Shankar achary a. “This is contrary to facts as Buddhism 
existed for many centuries after his death.” 

Dr. Ambedkar believed that Buddhism faded away in India 
because of the rise of Vais hnav ait ism and Saivaism. Another 
cause was the Muslim invasion of India. “When Allauddin 
marched into Bihar, he killed over 5,000 Bhikkus. The remaining 


*The 3rd May 1950. 


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384 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Buddhist monks fled to neighbouring countries like China, 
Nepal and Tibet. Efforts were subsequently made by 
Buddhists of India to raise another priesthood in order to 
revive Buddhism. But these failed as by then 90 per cent of 
Buddhists had embraced Hinduism. 

Answering the question why Hinduism survived in India 
and Buddhism had died, Dr. Ambedkar said, “this religion is 
difficult to practise while Hinduism is not.” — P.T.I. 1 


• • 


1 : The Free Press Journal, dated 4th May 1950. 


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46 

SCHEDULED CASTES’ EMANCIPATION 
—DRAFT MANIFESTO— 

“An Executive Committee Meeting of All India Scheduled 
Castes Federation was held at the Residence of Dr. B. R. 
Ambedkar at New Delhi on 6th Oct. 1951 to decide the 
Election Manifesto.” 1 

In that meeting a decision was taken, not to have alliance 
with Congress, Hindu Maha Sabha, R.S.S., Communist 
Party and Jan Sangh. The power to have the alliance with 
other Politicat Parties was delegated to the adhoc committee 
comprising Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, N. Shivraj and Bapusaheb 
Rajbhoj. It was also decided that the adhoc Committee would 
take the appropriate decisions. 

“The emphasis was given to make the ‘Samata Sainik 
Dal’ of ‘Scheduled Castes Federation’ stronger and effective.” 

“The manifesto prepared by ‘Scheduled Castes Federation’ 
was approved unanimously. The press wrote columns after 
columns speculating about the proposed manifesto. Indians 
and Western Journals welcomed the manifesto released on 7th 
October 1951 which was unique, unparalled and outspoken.” 2 

The copies of manifesto were circulated to the 
representatives of news papers well in advance. Accordingly 
the leading news paper ‘The Times of India’ dated October 
3rd, 1951 reacted under the above title which is as follows : — 

“... Seeking to fight the battle against poverty on two fronts, 
the Federation, it is understood, will advocate birth control to 
limit population and urge measures for increased and intensified 
agriculture and industrial production. The Federation considers 
rapid industrialization as very essential but is of a view that 
agriculture would continue to be the foundation of Indian 
economy. As regards administration, the Federation will 
press for the creation of linguistic provinces. It will insist on 
stringent action against corruption and black-marketing in all 
phases of life, particularly against Ministers or Officers who are 
corrupt. The Federation will advocate reduction of expenditure 
in the army, re-levy of the salt tax, abolition of prohibition 

1 : Khairmode, Vol. 10, P. 147. 

2 : Janata, October 13th, 1951. 


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386 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

and nationalisation of Insurance. As regard the foreign policy, 
the manifesto is expected to emphasize that India’s first duty 
should be to herself. It will urge the reversal of the present 
policy which is stated to have converted India’s friends into 
her enemies and the prevailing antagonism between the United 
States and India, is mentioned as an instance ” x 


To the Men and Women of India who are 
expected to think before they vote. To the men 
and women of India who are expected to believe 
that public good should come before selfish gain. 


ELECTION MANIFESTO 

OF THE 

SCHEDULED CASTES FEDERATION 


Scheduled Castes Federation is an All-India Political Party 
of the Scheduled Castes, established by the Scheduled Castes. 
In the following pages an attempt is made to set out (1) its 
Principles, (2) its Policy, (3) its Programmes and (4) its terms 
of Co-operation with other political parties. 


by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar 


a : The Times of India, dated 3rd October 1951, under title — ‘Scheduled 
Castes’ Emancipation : Draft Manifesto’ 

Reprinted, Khairmode, Vol. 10, P. 147. 


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SCHEDULED CASTES’ MANIFESTO— 387 

Principles of the Party 

1. The attitude of the Party in public affairs will be governed 
by the following principles 

(1) It will treat all Indians not only as being equal before 
the law but as being entitled to equality and will 
accordingly foster equality where it does not exist and 
uphold it where it is denied. 

(2) It will regard every Indian as an end in himself with 
a right to his own development in his own way and 
the State as only a means to that end. 

(3) It will sustain the right of every Indian to freedom- 
religious, economic and political— subject to such 
limitations as may arise out of the need for the 
protection of the interests of other Indians or the State. 

(4) It will uphold the right of every Indian to equality of 
opportunity subject to the provision that those who have 
had none in the past shall have priority over those who 
had. 

(5) It will keep the State ever aware of its obligation to 
make every Indian free from want and free from fear. 

(6) It will insist on the maintenance of liberty, equality 
and fraternity and will strive for redemption from 
oppression and exploitation of man by man, of class 
by class and of nation by nation. 

(7) It will stand for the Parliamentary System of 
Government as being the best form of Government 
both in the interest of public and in the interest of the 
individual. 

2. There are two considerations which should be borne in 
mind in assessing the implication and sincerity behind these 
principles. The first consideration is that these principles 
though adopted by the Federation are for the benefit of all 
the down- trodden humanity in India. The Federation in that 
sense cannot be accused of being a communal organization. It 
may be that it is not open to all, nonetheless it is out to serve 
all and co-operate with all who prove worthy of co-operation. 


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388 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

3. There may not be anything new in the Principles of 
the Scheduled Castes Federation. They will be found in 
the manifestoes of most political parties. But there are two 
considerations which distinguish the Federation from other 
Political Parties. The first consideration is that the principles 
of the Federation are not adopted by the Federation merely 
to look politically respectable or merely to delude the voters. 
They are natural to the Federation. They are borne out of the 
social condition of the Scheduled Castes. The Scheduled Castes 
Federation cannot exist without adopting these principles 
and without holding up to those principles and living up 
to them. The principles of the Scheduled Castes Federation 
are the life book of the Scheduled Castes Federation. They 
are not the external marks of a political faith. They are the 
outward register of the inward feeling. They are not cloak 
worne for the purpose of winning the election. Many parties 
may adopt these principles. But no party can be so true to 
the principles as the Scheduled Castes Federation. This is 
the second consideration in valuing the principles of the 
Federation. 


The Policy of the Party 

4. The policy of the Party will be to try to give effect to 
the principles set out above. The policy of the Party is not 
tied to any particular dogma or ideology such as Communism, 
or Socialism, Gandhism, or any other ism. The Party will be 
ready to adopt any plan of social and economic betterment of 
the people irrespective of its origin and provided it is consistent 
with its principles. Its outlook on life will be purely rational 
and modern, emperistic and not academic. 

The Programme of the Party 
I. Old Problems 

5. The programme of any Political Party in India must 
be integrally connected with the legacy left by the British. 
The legacy of the British has its credit side, and also 
its debit side. On the credit side must be reckoned (1) a 
uniform system of law, (2) a uniform system of justice, 
and (3) a uniform system and administration. On the debit 
side must be reckoned (1) maintenance of the archaic 


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SCHEDULED CASTES’ MANIFESTO— 389 

social system prevalent among the people of the country, 
(2) maintenance of the privileged class in education and in 
the Services, both Civil and Military, (3) complete neglect of 
the Untouchables, of the Backward Classes and of the Tribal 
People, (4) impoverization of the country. 

A. Problem of Raising the Backward Classes 

6. The Scheduled Castes Federation will fight for the 
raising of the Backward Classes, the Untouchables and the 
Tribal people both in the matter of Education and Services. 
This will receive topmost priority in the plan of action by 
the Federation and will be treated as fundamental. Neither 
delay or want of means will be allowed to stand in the way 
of carrying this part of the Programme into effect. The sort 
of Education which the Scheduled Castes Federation has in 
mind with regard to these classes is not primary education, not 
even Secondary Education. What it has in mind is advanced 
education of such high order, both in this country and outside, 
which will enable these classes to fit themselves for taking 
hold of administration. Similarly, in the matter of services, 
the Scheduled Castes Federation will insist on reservation, 
subject to minimum qualifications, so long as these classes 
are not able to find their place in the Civil and Military 
services of the country. Today there is rampant a worst sort 
of communalism in the Civil and Military services of the 
country by the higher classes. The services have become the 
monopoly of a few communities. When the lower classes are 
trying to break this monopoly by demanding that they who are 
at present excluded from services, are decried as communalists. 
The Scheduled Castes Federation will not allow this perverted 
logic to stand in the way of the non-privileged classes in the 
way of the fulfilment of their demand for occupying their 
rightful place in the affairs of this country. 

7. The Scheduled Castes Federation believes that the gulf 
between the higher classes and the lower classes in this country 
is already very great. This gulf has already created a good deal 
of enmity between them. The murders, arsons and loot that were 
committed by members of the lower classes against members 
of the higher classes in 1948 in certain parts of India after the 
murder of Mr. Gandhi shows how deep rooted this enmity is. 


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390 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

The Scheduled Castes Federation is firmly of opinion that 
to remove the cause of this enmity is to give the lower 
classes the higher education and to open to them the door 
of services is the only solution of this problem. The artificial 
distinction between higher classes and lower classes based 
on birth must come to an end soon. But it cannot come to 
an end except by raising the lower classes to the level of 
the higher classes in the matter of education. 

B. The Problem of Poverty 

8 (7) The economic condition of India has been described 
by the Planning Commission in very realistic terms. It 
says 

(i) The population of the Indian Union (excluding Jammu 
and Kasmir) has increased from 235.5 million in 1901 
to 356.9 million in 1951 — an increase of about 52 
per cent over the half-century. The rate of increase 
for the first two decades was relatively low, but it 
has risen since then. Between 1921 and 1931, the 
increase was 11 per cent; for 1931-41, it was 14.3 
per cent; and, for 1941-51, it was 13.4 per cent. 

(ii) There has been very little change in the occupational 
structure, despite considerable development of 
industries. In 1911, about 71 per cent of the working 
population was engaged in agriculture. For 1948, 
the National Income Committee puts this figure at 
about 68.2 per cent. Agriculture affords employment 
for only a part of the year, so that a large proportion 
of the workers engaged in this occupation are more 
or less idle for the rest of the year. There is thus a 
great deal chronic underemployment in the country. 

(iii) Sown area per person has shown a steady tendency to 
decline. For British India, sown area per person went 
down from 0.88 acre in 1911-12 to 0.72 acre in 1941-42. 
For 1948, i.e., after partition, the estimated sown 
area per person in the Indian Union works out at 0.71 
acre. Evidence as to the trend of yields per acre is not 


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SCHEDULED CASTES’ MANIFESTO— 391 

conclusive. From some of the published figures available, 
it would appear that in respect of certain food crops, at 
any rate, the trend has been downward. It is difficult to 
assess the over-all trend of productivity in agriculture, 
but the broad picture that emerges suggests conditions 
of stagnation in this respect. 

8. The Problem of poverty is thus a double edged problem. 
From one point of view it is a problem of more production 
both in Agriculture and in Industry. From another point of 
view, it is a problem of controlling the excessive growth of 
population. Both sides are equally important. The Scheduled 
Castes Federation proposes to fight the battle against poverty 
on both the fronts. 

9. For the purpose of reducing population, it would advocate 
an intensive propaganda in favour of birth-control among the 
people. It will advocate the opening of birth control clinics 
in different parts of the country. It regards the growing rate 
in the increase of population in the country so grave an evil 
that it would not hesitate to advocate more drastic methods 
of controlling it. 

10. For the purpose of increasing production, the 
Scheduled Castes Federation will not be bound by any 
dogma or any pattern. The Pattern of industrial enterprise 
will be a matter regulated by the needs of the time and 
circumstances. Where national undertaking of an industry 
is possible and essential, the Scheduled Castes Federation 
will support national undertaking. Where private enterprise 
is possible and national undertaking not essential, private 
enterprise will be allowed. Looking at the intense poverty of 
the people of this country no other consideration except that 
of greater production and still greater production can be the 
primary and paramount condition. A pre-conceived pattern of 
industry cannot be the primary or paramount consideration. 
The remedy against poverty is more production and not the 
pattern of production. Once reservation, the Scheduled Castes 
Federation must however make. Any scheme of production 
must in the view of the Scheduled Castes Federation 
remain subject to one overriding consideration namely that 
there should be no exploitation of the working classes. 


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392 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

11. While the rapid industrialisation of the country is 
very essential in the opinion of the Federation agriculture 
is bound to remain the foundation of India’s economy. Any 
scheme of increased production which does not take into 
account the re-construction of Indian agriculture is doomed 
to disappointment. 

12. The Federation holds that for increased production 
in agriculture the following plan must be adopted : — 

(i) Agriculture must be mechanised. Agriculture in India 
can never become prosperous so long as the method 
of cultivation remains primitive. 

(ii) To make mechanised farming possible, cultivation on 
small holdings must be replaced by large farms. 

(iii) To increase the yield, there must be provision for 
adequate manuring and for the supply of healthy 
seeds. 

13. It is not possible for the average agriculturist to 
adopt this plan and work upon it. He has no means to 
bear the cost involved in the plan. The Scheduled Castes 
Federation believes that the plan should be put into effect 
by the State. The first item in this plan should be the 
responsibility of the State. The State should supply all 
the mechanized equipment to the farmer on hire and at 
a rental to be recovered along with the land revenue. 

14. With numerous small holdings, the problem of 
creating large scale farms becomes very difficult. But the 
problem must be solved either by introducing Co-operative 
farms or collective farms. 

15. Although India is an agricultural country, there 
are a vast number of people who are just landless 
labourers, who are ekeing out a miserable living 
and who are exploited by cultivators and majority of 
whom are Untouchables and other backward classes. 
There is no need why this body of landless labourers 
should be left to their fate resulting in their misery 


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SCHEDULED CASTES’ MANIFESTO— 393 

and in the poverty of the country. This is all the more regre- 
table because the situation is not beyond remedy. In this 
connection the following figures relating to available land in 
India are very instructive : 


Total Geographical area 

811 

million acres 

Total area under agriculture 

577 

million acres 

Total area under forest 

84 

million acres 

Cultivable waste 

93 

million acres 

Uncultivable waste 

93 

million acres 

Current fallow 

62 

million acres 

Net land under agriculture 

244 

million acres 


From these figures it is quite clear that there are 93 million 
acres of land which is cultivable waste and which can be 
brought under cultivation. Surely, it cannot be beyond modern 
science to reclaim this vast amount of cultivable waste land 
and make it available for cultivation. The Scheduled Castes 
Federation will take up this question. 

16. The prosperity of the agriculturist must depend upon the 
maintenance of forest belts spread over the country. Without 
forests belts proper degree of rainfall will not be assured and 
agriculture in India will continue to be the gamble in rain as 
it has always been in the past. The Federation would urge for 
more and more afforestation of the uncultivable waste land. 

17. Agriculture in the narrow sense of the term can never 
be a profitable persuit. It must be supplemented by subsidiary 
industries which are called cottage industries. But no cottage 
industry worth the name will be possible without an adequate 
supply of electricity. Generation of electricity is in the opinion 
of the Scheduled Castes Federation the foundation of economic 
prosperity of India and the Scheduled Castes Federation 
will strive for the realization of the river valley projects, the 
purpose of which is to produce irrigation, to produce electricity 
and to stop floods. 

18. Just as land has been neglected so also landless 
labourers have been neglected. The Federation will reserve 
land out of uncultivated land or reclaimed land for the 


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394 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

benefit of landless labourers and will also introduce for them 
the principle of minimum wages. 

II. New Problems 

19. So far the manifesto has dealt with the way the 
Scheduled Castes Federation proposes to deal with the old 
problems which the British left as a legacy to India. Since 
Independence, new problems have come up. They fall into 
two divisions— 

(A) Problems of Internal Administration, and 

(B) Problems of Foreign Relations 

A-Problems of Internal Administration 

20. Among the problems of Internal Administration the 
glaring ones are 

(i) The Problem of Linguistic Provinces; 

(ii) The Problem of restoring purity of Administration ; 

(iii) The Problem of Control and Black- marketeers; 

(iv) The Problem of Inflation and the distress due to 
rising cost of living. 

21. The Problem of Linguistic Provinces is most urgent. 
The quarrels within linguistic units in the States of Madras, 
Madhya Pradesh and Bombay have made it impossible for 
democracy to work. There must be social peace among various 
linguistic units if our constitution is to work on purely political 
considerations. For that purpose Linguistic States is the 
only remedy. The Federation will press for the creation of 
Linguistic States. 

22. . The Scheduled Castes Federation believes that 
corruption in administration is wholly the creation of the 
Congress. The Congress imply does not believe in punishing 
the corrupt. Charges have been made by members of the 
Congress itself against congress ministers of corruption and 
graft not in one State but in many states. The Congress 
High Command did not even think it necessary to make 
inquiries. Instead of making inquiries into these charges 


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SCHEDULED CASTES’ MANIFESTO— 395 

and punishing the guilty Ministers the Congress High 
Command has suppressed those who have made such charges 
thereby openly protected the corrupt and the dishonest. When 
Ministers at the top are corrupt how could officers below fail 
to be corrupt ? The Federation will urge stern action against 
ministers or officers who are corrupt and raise the standard 
of administration which has fallen so low during and owing 
to the Congress regime. 

23. The problem of control and Black- marketeers is also 
the result of the close association between the Congress and 
Big Business. The Congress throughout its life has been 
financed by Big Business and is reared upon the support of 
Big Business. From what has recently been revealed to be 
happening in the State of U. P. this association between the 
Congress and Big Business bids fair to continue. Congress is 
prepared to sell Big Business power in exchange for election 
fund and Big Business is ready to buy power by giving money 
to Congress to run its election. Much of the remedy lies in 
the hand of the Voter himself. If he realizes that he must 
not support a candidate who is backed by Big Business he 
will greatly help to solve the problem. The Federation which 
is miles away from Big Business will see to it that the Big 
Business does not run the Government of country. 

24. The problem of inflation seems to have come to stay. 
It is allowed to despoil the life of the people. It has never 
been given the consideration it deserves. The Federation will 
press for its immediate solution. 

B- Problems of Foreign Policy 

25. It is a fact that on the date of India’s Independence 
all nations were the friends of India and wished her well. 
Today the situation is just the reverse. India has no friends. 
All nations are her adversaries, if not actual enemies. This 
ghastly change in the situation is the result of the Foreign 
Policy of the Congress Government. This change of front by 
foreign nations towards India within the last three years is due 
to India’s policy regarding Kashmir, regarding the admission 
of Communist China in the United Nations Organisation and 
in regard to the Korean War. 


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396 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

26. On the Kashmir issue, the policy adopted by the 
Congress Government is not acceptable to the Scheduled 
Castes Federation. This policy if continued will lead to 
a perpetual enmity betwen India and Pakistan, and the 
possibility of war between the two countries. The Scheduled 
Castes Federation believes that it is essential for the good 
of both countries that they should be good and friendly 
neighbours. For this purpose the proper policy to adopt 
towards Pakistan should be based upon two considerations. 
(1) There should be no talk about the annulment of the 
partition of India. Partition should be accepted as a settled 
fact not to be reopened and that the two countries to continue 
as two separate sovereign States. (2) That, Kashmir to be 
partitioned— the Muslim area to go to Pakistan (subject to 
the wishes of the Kashmiries living in the Valley) and the 
non-Muslim area consisting of Jammu and Ladhak to come 
to India. 

27. This policy has the best chance of producing friendly 
relations between the two countries, and the Scheduled Castes 
Federation will press for its acceptance. 

28. The other centre of our foreign policy which has made 
other nations our enemies is China. India is made to fight 
her battle for entry in the United Nations Organisation as a 
permanent member thereof. This is an extraordinary thing. 
Why should India fight the battle of China when China is 
quite capable of fighting her own battle? This championing of 
the cause of Communist China by India has been responsible 
for the prevailing antagonism between India and America 
with the result that it has become impossible for India to 
obtain financial and technical aid from America. 

29. We refused Dominion Status. We became an 
Independent Country. Subsequently we agreed to remain in 
the British Commonwealth— and yet out relations with the 
other countries is not at friendly. 

30. In our foreign policy we have not been able to make a 
distinction beetween Capitalism and Parliamentary Democracy. 
The dislike of Capitalism is understandable. But we take care that 


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SCHEDULED CASTES’ MANIFESTO— 397 

we do not weaken Parliamentary Democracy and help 
Dictatorship to grow. It would be like throwing the baby out 
of the bath but in emptying it of dirty water. 

31. India’s first duty should be to herself. Instead of fighting 
to make Communist China a permanent member of the 
U. N. O. India should fight for getting herself recognised as 
the permanent member of the U. N. O. Instead of doing this, 
India is spending herself in fighting the battle of Mao as against 
Chaingkai Shek. This quixotic policy of saving the world is 
going to bring about the ruination of India and the sooner this 
suicidal foreign policy is reversed the better for India. Before 
championing the cause of Asiatic countries, India must strive 
every nerve, must seek every aid to make herself strong. Then 
only will her voice be effective. This will be the line of Foreign 
Policy that the Scheduled Castes Federation will pursue. 

III. Question of Resources : 

33. Programme is not a mere matter of words or ideas. If 
it is to be put into action, it is necessary to find the necessary 
finance. Nobody will take a Party’s programme seriously unless 
and until the Party is able to show how it is going to foot the 
bill. 

34. Although the amount required for the programme set out 
by the Federation is by no means small, the financial problem 
is not unmanagable. The Scheduled Castes Federation suggests 
the following ways of raising finances for the development of 
the country 

(i) Reduction of Expenditure over the Army. 

(ii) Re-levy of the Salt tax. 

(iii) Abolition of prohibition and the saving of Excise 
Revenue, 

(iv) Nationalisation of Insurance. 

35. The total revenues of the Government of India are about Rs. 
350 crores out of this the Army is eating up more than 50 per cent 
of the Revenues or nearly Rs. 180 crores per annum. This is a 
colossal expenditure on defence in a country where people are 
dying of starvation. On the basis of the settlement of the Kashmir 
issue in the way suggested in the Manifesto and the change in the 


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398 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

foreign policy and creation of friendly relations with other 
foreign nations, there should be no risk in reducing the 
defence expenditure by Rs. 50 crores per year. 

36. There is no reason why the levy of the Salt tax should 
not be resumed. The giving up of the levy of the Salt tax 
was a concession to mere sentiment. It has not made Salt 
cheap. Instead salt has become very dear. The only thing 
that has happened is that the State has lost a valuable 
source of revenue which used to produce Rs. 11 crores of 
revenue per year and which has seriously handicapped the 
State in advancing the development of the country. The 
incident of the tax on the people will be nothing even if it 
is levied at a rate which will produce Rs. 30 crores per year. 

37. Prohibition is sheer madness. Its progress must not 
only be arrested but it must be immediately abolished. 
It has produced more evils than those it was intended to 
stop. Manufacture of liquor has become a cottage industry. 
Formerly only men drank liquor. Now women and children 
also drink because liquor is manufactured in every home in 
the presence of women and children. It has produced more 
crime and worst soil of demoralisation of the lower classes. 

38. From the point of view of conserving the resources 
of the State it is a huge waste. The excise revenue of Part 
‘A’ States in 1945-46 was Rs. 51.67 crores. In 1950-51, it 
was 25.23 crores. The Budget estimates for 1951-52 is 24.95 
crores. The figures for 1945-46 includes the prepartitioned 
Punjab and Bengal. Nevertheless, broadly the statement 
can be made that the loss on account of prohibition in 
part ‘A’ States is of the order of Rs. 25 crores a year. This 
does not, however, take into account the possible rise in 
excise revenue that might have taken place in the absence 
of prohibition. 

39. For Bombay, excise revenue in 1946-47 was 
Rs. 9.74 crores. In 1950-51, it was 1.20 crores and the 
budget estimates for 1951-52 is 1.05 crores. The loss in 
excise revenue thus works out of about Rs. 8.7 crores a year. 


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SCHEDULED CASTES’ MANIFESTO— 399 

40. The excise revenue in Madras was Rs. 16.80 crores 
in 1945-46. It declined to .50 crores in 1950-51. For 1951-52 
the budget estimate is .36 crores. The loss in excise revenue 
in consequence of prohibition thus works out at Rs. 16 crores. 

41. In the U. P. excise revenue in 1947-48 was Rs. 7.06 
crores. For 1950-51, it was Rs. 5.93 crores and the budget 
estimate for 1951-52 is Rs. 5.84 crores. The loss thus works 
out at Rs. 1.2 crores. 

42. The excise revenue in Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and 
Bengal also shows some fall. 

43. The loss in excise revenue for Bombay and Madras 
alone works out at almost Rs. 25 crores which is also the 
approximate decline in the excise revenue in part ‘A’ States 
taken together. 

44. These figures are incomplete. They do not contain 
any data for part ‘B’ States. For they are not available. 
They also do not contain any data if the expenditure on 
enforcement in consequence of the adoption of the policy 
of prohibition. 

45. From the point of equity, there is no justification for 
prohibition. The cost of prohibition is borne by the general 
public. Why should the general public be made to pay the 
cost of reforming a lakh or two of habitual drunkards who 
could never be reformed ? Why should the general public be 
made to pay the cost of prohibition when the other wants 
of the public such as eduction, housing and health are 
crying for remedy? Why not use the money for development 
plans? Who has greater priority, the Drunkard or the 
Hungry ? There are pertinent questions to which there 
is no answer except arrogance and obstinacy. Whatever 
happens, the policy of prohibition must be reversed and 
this colossal waste of public money should be put a stop to 
and the resources utilised for advancing general welfare. 


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400 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

46. As regards nationalization of Insurance it is the most 
profitable source of money as the following figures show 


Total number of Insurers registered in 
1950 under the Insurance Act 

339 

Total number of Life Insurance Policies 
effected in 1949 

33,03,000 

Sum Insured 

7,39,49,00,000 

Annual Income by way of Premium 

37,18,00,000 

Total Invested in Government 
Securities as required 

8,64,16,000 

Expenses of Management 

29.2 per cent 
of the premium 


income. 

47. From these figures it will be seen that the total money 
in the hands of the Life Insurance Companies per annum is 
37 crores. Unlike Bank deposits they are not demand deposits. 
Not being demand deposits they can be easily invested in long 
term development projects. It is true that Insurance Companies 
invest their monies in Government Securities so that it may 
be said that in the last resort it is the Government which gets 
the Insurane money. But this is no answer to nationalization of 
Insurance. For the amount invested in Government Securities 
is very small, 9 crores out of 37 crores. Secondly, Government 
has to pay interest on these securities which is a needless 
burden on the tax-payer. Thirdly, Insurance Companies eat up 
annually 29 p.c. of the income from premium which came to 
11 crores out of 37 crores for the year 1949. This is intolerable 
waste of money. All this could be stopped by nationalization. 

48. The Scheduled Castes Federation will not only press 
for nationalization of Insurance ; it will make Insurance 
compulsory for all State and Private Employees. Compulsory 
Insurance will give security to the individual and funds for 
the Government for further development. 


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SCHEDULED CASTES’. 


.MANIFESTO— 


401 


49. To sum up under the scheme set out by the Federation 
the available resources for the development of the country 
will come to- 


50. The sources indicated can be depended upon to provide 
enough funds for the development of the country. 

IV. Co-operation between Scheduled Castes 
Federation and other Political Parties 

51. Mere Organization does not make a party. A party 
means a body of people who are bound by principles. Without 
principles a party cannot function as a party for in the 
absence of principles there is nothing to hold the members of 
it together. A party without principles is only a caravanserai. 
The Scheduled Castes Federation will not, therefore, ally itself 
with a Political Party which has not laid down its principles 
and whose constitution does not demand a pledge from its 
members to stand by those principles and whose principles 
are not in antogonism with these of the Federation. 

52. It is not enough to have political ideals. What is 
necessary is the victory of ideals. But the victory of ideals can 
be ensured only by organized parties and not by individuals. 
For these reasons the Federation will not support independent 
candidates who belong to no party except in exceptional cases. 

53. Secondly, the Scheduled Castes Federation would like 
to work in co-operation with the Backward Classes and the 
Scheduled Tribes. For they are more or less in the same 
position as the Scheduled Castes. These classes unfortunately 
have not developed that degree of political consciousness 
which the Scheduled Castes have by reason of political and 
social activity of the Scheduled Castes Federation during 
the last twenty years. The Constitution of Free India has 
made the Backward Classes, the Scheduled Tribes and 
the Scheduled Castes virtually the masters of the country. 


(1) From the Army Budget 

(2) From the Salt Revenue 

(3) From Excise 

(4) From Life Insurance 

(5) From compulsory Insurance of 


Rs. 50 crores 
Rs. 30 crores 
Rs. 25 crores 


Figures not 
available. 


State and Private Employees 


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402 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Hitherto the minority of Caste Hindus have made themselves 
the rulers of the country. The fear of the Scheduled Castes 
Federation is that the Backward Classes and the Scheduled 
Tribes by reason of their want of consciousness may fall a 
prey to the minority of Caste Hindus and continue to be 
their slaves instead of becoming masters of their own. The 
Scheduled Castes Federation’s first concern is to help these 
Classes to get on their feet. If they so wish, the Scheduled 
Castes Federation would be prepared to change the name 
and call itself the Backward Classes Federation so as to 
include both sections in a common organization. If this is not 
possible, the Scheduled Castes Federation would be ready and 
willing to forge a working alliance with such organizations. 

54. As regards other Political Parties, the Scheduled 
Castes Federation’s attitude can be easily defined. The 
Scheduled Castes Federation will not have any alliance with 
any reactionary Party such as the Hindu Mahasabha or the 
R. S. S. 

55. The Scheduled Castes Federation will not have any 
alliance with a Party like the Communist Party the objects 
of which are to destroy individual freedom and Parliamentary 
Democracy and substitute in its place a dictatorship. 

56. The Scheduled Castes Federation does not believe in 
totalitarianism and, therefore, will not join a political party 
which is already totalitarian and which will not permit an 
opposition party to grow. 

57. The Scheduled Castes Federation is equally opposed to 
the growth of multiplicity of Political Parties. The ideal of the 
Scheduled Castes Federation is to have two parties. That alone 
can give stability to the State and Freedom to the individual. 
The Federation will strive to bring about a two party system 
in this country. Such an ideal, however, does not seem to be 
realizable within the short time available from now and the 
coming general election. For the moment what is possible 
is to form an All India Party consisting not of individual 
members but of different political parties as units all having 
a common basis in Political principles and bound by common 


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SCHEDULED CASTES’ MANIFESTO— 403 

descipline but each having its own autonomy in the matter 
of its internal organization and the setting up of candidates 
on some agreed basis and reciprocal obligation to support 
one another’s candidate subject to a committee of approval. 
In short, the Party should be some what on the lines of the 
British Labour Party which is a Federal Party. 

58. The Scheduled Castes Federation is prepared to be a 
unit of such a Federal Party if Parties such as the K.M.P. 
Party, the Socialist Party, the Justice Party and where no 
such Parties exist other Parties on the following terms and 
conditions : 

(i) Every Party to such an alliance must have its 
principles set out in clear terms; 

(ii) The principles of such a Party should not be 
opposed to the principles of the Scheduled Castes 
Federation; 

(iii) The Party seeking alliance must pledge its support 
for the social and economic uplift of the Scheduled 
Castes; 

(iv) The Party must agree to permit the Scheduled 
Castes Federation to function as an autonomous 
unit within the Federal Organization in the matter 
of its internal affairs; and 

(v) The Party must not be affiliated to any Party which 
is not recognized by Federal Party as a unit of its 
own. 

59. With regard to individuals who seek the aid of the 
Scheduled Castes Federation in Election they would be required 
to become Associate Members of the Federation and sign a 
pledge to the effect that they accept the principles, the policy, 
the programme and the descipline of the Federation. 


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47 

RESIGNATION NOT DUE TO ILLNESS 

Dr. Ambedkar’s statement. New Delhi, October 
12,1951. 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar said here to-day that he had not 
resigned on grounds of illness. 

In a Statement he said that in his letter of August 10 
last, to the Prime Minister, he had referred to his illness but 
had not mentioned it as a ground for his resignation. He had 
mentioned it is a ground for getting higher priority for the 
Hindu Code. In their letter of resigntion of September 27 last, 
he had not mentioned illness as a ground for his resignation. 

“How anybody can spell out from those two letters that I 
resigned because of my health, I am unable to understand. 
I knew that attempts were being made to give such an 
impression, that is why I wanted to make a statement in the 
House so that nobody should be under any false impression.” 

The former Law Minister expressed surprise over the 
question about his statement in Parliament on his resignation 
having been raised against at 6 p. m. yesterday. After reading 
the press reports of what had happened in the House in his 
absence, he found that some confusion had been created in 
the minds of the members by what was said by the Prime 
Minister and the Deputy Speaker. 

“Unfortunately,” Dr. Ambedkar said, “the Prime Minister 
did not inform me that he was going to raise the question in 
the evening at six O’ clock. If he had told me of his intention 
to do so, I would have certainly been present in the House 
to hear what he had to say, and offer my explanation there. 
But I received no such intimation from him and consequently 
was not present in the House. 

“I, therefore, think it necessary to clarify the position. I 
have not been able to understand what exactly the Prime 
Minister wanted to gain by reading the correspondence between 
him and me. I can only guess. If the impression which the 
Prime Minister seems to be desirous of creating by reading 
the correspondence was that the ground for my resignation 
was my illness, it is not difficult to dispel that conclusion.” 


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RESIGNATION NOT DUE TO ILLNESS 405 

Propriety of Reading out Dr. Ambedkar’s letters 

Mr. Kamath’s Query in Parliament, 

New Delhi, October 12 : The propriety of the Prime 
Minister’s reading out to Parliament last evening the letters 
exchanged between Dr. Ambedkar and himself, without taking 
the permission of the former and without informing him, has 
raised in Parliament this morning by Mr. H. V. Kamath. 

Soon after Dr. Ambedkar had taken his seat in the front 
bench amidst cheers. Mr. Kamath raised this question and 
asked whether Dr. Ambedkar would be permitted to make a 
statement commenting on the correspondence. The Deputy 
Speaker said that every member should speak for himself. 
He pointed out that he had fixed 6 p. m. last evening as 
the time Dr. Ambedkar to make the statement. At that time 
Dr. Ambedkar was not in his seat and the Prime Minister 
wanted to read out certain relevant papers and permission 
was given. No particular notice need be given to any member. 

Clarifying his position, Dr. Ambedkar said that when he 
left the Chamber in the morning, he was quite sure that he 
had left the impression on the House and the Chair that he 
was not prepared to make a statement at 6 p.m. He was not 
saying that he felt injured by the Prime Minister’s reading 
out the correspondence at 6 p.m. “knowing fully well that I 
had stated clearly in the morning that I was not going to 
obey your observations and make the statement at 6 p.m.” 

Dr. Ambedkar added : — 

“Whether it was justifiable for the Prime Minister to have 
read out the letters or not is a matter I leave to the Prime 
Minister and yourself, because I have other channels open to 
me for correcting wrong impressions”. 

Closing the incident the Deputy Speaker said. It is always 
open to a member to change his mind and make the statement 
especially when once I had fixed 6 p. m. as the time for the 
statement.” 1 

• • 

1 : The Times of India, dated 11-10-1951, the dates ‘IT seems to be 
incorrect — Editors. 

Reprinted: Khairmode, Vol. 10, Pp. 119-121. 


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48 

ALLIANCES WITH OTHER PARTIES WHOSE 
OBJECTIVES ARE NOT OPPOSED TO 
THOSE OF FEDERATION 

Patna, November 7, 1951. (PIT) 

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, Leader of the Scheduled Castes Federation, 
told the Press Trust of India in an interview today that his party 
would seek to fight the elections not only in alliance with the 
Socialist Party but any other party whose objectives did not run 
counter to those of the Federation. 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar had a talk with Mr. Jay Prakash Narayan, 
the Socialist leader, today for about an hour. The talks are believed 
to have centred round the question of an election alliance. 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar said that his party would not in any case 
align with the Communist Party “for the plain reason that I do 
not believe in Communism,” 

Asked if he would prevent his party from aligning with the 
Communist Party simply because he was personally opposed to 
Communism, Dr. Ambedkar said : “I am not going to be a slave 
to my party so long as I and my party agree, we work together 
else we go our own way. I do not live on politics and I do not 
propose to live on politics.” 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar added, however, that on the question 
of Communists there was no difference of opinion between him 
and his party. 

More Time 

Dr. Ambedkar said that he had along been opposed to the 
holding of the elections hastily. In his opinion at least one year’s 
time should have been given to the people between the passing 
of the People’s Representation Act and the actual holding of 
elections to enable them to prepare themselves. 

If he had time he would have exerted himself for forming 
a single party opposed to the Congress on Unitary or Federal 
basis. The provincial branches of the Federation, Dr. Ambedkar 
said, had been left free to enter into election alliances with other 
parties whose objectives were not opposed to those of Federation. 

•• 


The Chronicle, dated 8th November 1951. 


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49 

NO MAN SHOULD BE THE JUDGE IN 
HIS OWN CASE 

New Delhi. December 10. 1951. 

Dr. Ambedkar, former Law Minister of India, and the Chief 
Architect of the Constitution, today appeared in the Supreme Court, 
as a practising lawyer. He would be shortly arguing the petitions 
of some Zamindars. 

Mr. P. R. Das, who was advancing his arguments almost thought 
today, at one stage made a reference to Dr. Ambedkar’s presence 
in the Court. He told the Court that a particular phrase existed 
in the draft constitution but was later deleted at the instance of 
Dr. Ambedkar. 

“Dr. Ambedkar” said Mr. Das, “is here. Your Lordship must 
call upon him to explain why those words were deleted”. (Loud 
Laughter).— UPI.” 1 

New Delhi, March 6.* 

Dr. Ambedkar, continuing his arguments before the Supreme 
Court, on behalf of the Uttar Pradesh zamindars, said that the State 
should not be the judge in determining the amount of compensation 
to be paid to the zamindars. 

Relying on American doctrines, Dr. Ambedkar said that according 
to jurisprudence no man should be the judge in his own case. 

Dr. Ambedkar was challenging the Uttar Pradesh zamindars 
and Estate Abolition Act on behalf of some zamindars petitioners. 

To a question from the Chief Justice as to what should be the 
remedy if State fixed the compensation, the counsel said that the 
Court should declare the compensation fixed by the State as arbitrary. 

Dr. Ambedkar said that the question of fixing compensation 
should be referred to an independent body and not to the State itself 
who sought to acquire the private properties. 

“The compensation fixed by the Uttar Pradesh Government 
was illusory and they would not get anything at all after the entire 
amount of debt was paid from the amount”, he added — P.T.I.” 2 

• • 

1 : The Free Press Journal, dated 11th December 1951. 

2 : The Free Press Journal, dated 5th March 1951, 

*One of the date seems to be incorrect — Editors. 


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50 

ELECTION PETITION 

The 1st General Elections in India were declared in the 
year 1952. Dr. B. R. Ambedkar wanted alliance with like- 
minded political parties. In Maharashtra there was a talk 
for electoral alliance with the ‘Peasants and Workers Party’ 
and the Socialists. Mr. Jayaprakash Narayan and Mr. Ashok 
Mehta contacted Dr. Ambedkar through Acharya Donde, who 
met him at Delhi. 

The alliance between Scheduled Castes Federation and 
Socialist Party took place and Dr. B. R. Ambedkar filed his 
candidature for the House of People from Bombay City North 
Constituency as a Reserved Candidate. The Election was held 
on 3rd January 1952. — Editors. 

“BOMBAY RESULTS SHOCKING 

Inquiry Urged 

New Delhi, January, 5th, 1952. 

Dr. Ambedkar, former Law Minister of the Government 
of India, who is contesting the reserved seat from Bombay 
north, to the House of the People, said today that the results 
of the elections in Bombay City, so far declared, came as a 
great surprise and shock to the citizens of Bombay. 

In a statement issued today, Dr. Ambedkar said, the 
Congress show in the city was comparatively very poor. He 
claimed that the polling was heavily in favour of the Socialists 
and the Scheduled Castes Federation. 

“How the overwhelming support of the public of Bombay 
could have been belied so grossly is really a matter for inquiry 
by the Elections Commissioner” he said. — P. T. I.” 1 

“AMBEDKAR, MEHTA FILE ELECTION PETITION 

New Delhi, April 24, 1952 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, former Union Law Minister, and the 
Socialist leader, Mr. Ashok Mehta, have filed a joint election 
petition before the Chief Election Commissioner to set aside 
the election to the House of the People from the Bombay City 
North Parliamentary constituency, and declare it illegal. 


1 : The Time of India, dated 6th January 1952. 


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ELECTION PETITION 409 

This double-member constituency was the seen of a strong 
contest in which eight candidates, including Mr. S. A. Dange, 
Communist leader, took part. 

The Congress nominees, Mr. V. B. Gandhi, and Mr. N. S. 
Kajrolkar (Scheduled Caste) were elected in the contest. 

The election petition enumerates a number of grounds on 
which, it wants the election to be declared void. — P. T. I.” 1 

“Dr. Ambedkar submitted his election petition on 
21st April 1952 to the Election Commission. 

IN THE MATTER OF THE REPRESENTATION OF THE 
PEOPLE ACT, 1951 


Election Petition under Section 81 to set aside the 
Election to the House of the People from the 
Bombay City North Constituency held on 
the 3rd day of January 1952. 

Before the Election Commission, 


NEW DELHI 


(1) Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, aged n 
60 of Bombay Inhabitant residing 
at Rajgriha, Hindu Colony, Dadar, 
without the Fort of Bombay. 

► 

(2) Ashoka Ranjitram Mehta, aged 39 
of Bombay Inhabitant residing at 
3, Dadystth Street, near Babulnath 
Temple without the Fort of Bombay. J 


Petitioners. 


Vs. 

(1) Shripad Amrit Dange aged 52 of » 
Bombay Inhabitant residing at 
Shah Nivas, Muncipal House No. 3, 
Kohinoor Road, Dadar, without the 
Fort of Bombay. 


1: The National Standard, dated 25th April 1952. 


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410 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 


(2) Gopal Vinayak Deshmukh, aged 56 
of Bombay Inhabitant residing at 
39, Peddar Road without the Fort 
of Bombay. 

(3) Vithal Balkrishna Gandhi, aged 55 
of Bombay Inhabitant residing at 23, 
Dwarkadas street, Khatau Building, 
within the Fort of Bombay. 

(4) Keshav Balkrishna Joshi, aged 49 
of Bombay Inhabitant residing at 
P. 165, Shivaji Park, Road No. 6. 
Mahim, without the Fort of Bombay. 


(5) Narayan Sadoba Kajrolkar, aged 56 
of Bombay Inhabitant residing at 187 
Suparibaug Road, Parel, without the 
Fort of Bombay. 

(6) Nilkanath Baburao Paruiekar, aged 
57 of Bombay Inhabitant residing 
at 157, Princess Street, without the 
Fort of Bombay. 

(7) Dattatray Ramchandra Gharpure, 
aged 62 of Bombay Inhabitant 
residing at Topiwala Mansion, 386, 
Sandhurst Road, without the Fort 
of Bombay. 

(8) Ramchandra Sadoba Kajrolkar, aged 
42 of Bombay Inhabitant residing at 
185, Suparibaug Road, Parel, without 
the Fort of Bombay. 


Respondents. 


(9) Shantaram Sawalram Mirajkar, aged 
49 of Bombay Inhabitant residing at 
Abdul Kadar Chambers, Municipal 
House No. P.L, 180, St. Xavier’s 
Street, Bhoiwada Police Station 
Area, without the Fort of Bombay. 


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ELECTION PETITION 411 

To, 

The Election Commission, 

New Delhi. 

THE HUMBLE PETITION OF THE PETITIONERS 
ABOVE NAMED RESPECTFULLY SHEWETH : 

1. That the Petitioners were candidates for election to the 
House of the People from Bombay City North constituency 
at the Elections to the House of the People held on the 3rd 
January, 1952. 

2. That the Petitioners’ names were duly enrolled in the 
electoral roll and the Petitioners thus became eligible to stand 
as candidates from the said Constituency to the House of the 
People. 

3. That the Petitioners duly filed their nomination papers 
as candidates from the Bombay City North Constituency. The 
Petitioners’ nominations were duly accepted on 27th November, 
1951. The Respondents 1 to 9 were the other candidates to 
the House of the People from the same Constituency as that 
of the Petitioners. The Respondent Nos. 7, 8 and 9 withdrew 
their candidature within the time allowed for such withdrawal. 

4. That the said Bombay City North Constituency, as 
a plural member Constituency, has a right to elect two 
members to the House of the People. Out of the two seats 
to be filled in by Election in the said Constituency, one seat 
is general and the second one is reserved for the Scheduled 
Castes. Every voter in this Constituency has subject to the 
restriction prescribed in Section 63 (1) of the Act, two votes 
as there are two members to be elected; Section 63 (1) of the 
Representation of the People Act, 1951 (Act No. XLIII of 1951) 
expressly lays down that no elector shall give more than one 
vote to any one candidate. 

5. That the election at the polling stations in the Bombay 
City North Constituency was held on the 3 rd January, 1952. 

6. That the counting of votes polled by the various 
candidates commenced on the 7th January 1952 and the same 
was completed on the 11th January 1952. 


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412 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

7. That the result of the election of the said 
Parliamentary Constituency was declared by the Returning 
Officer on 11th January to be as follows : — 

(i) That the Petitioners 1 and 2 polled respectively 
1,23,576 and 1,39,741 votes; 

(ii) That the Respondent Nos. 1,2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 
polled 96,755; 40,786; 1,49,138; 15,195; 1,38,137 
and 12,560 votes respectively; 

(iii) That the Respondent No. 5 was elected to the 
reserved seat and the Respondent No. 3 was 
elected to the remaining seat from the said 
Constituency; and 

(iv) That it was further declared by the Returning 
Officer that the total number of valid votes 
polled in the said Constituency was 7,15,888 
and that the total number of invalid votes was 
74,333; 

8. That the Petitioners rely on the declaration of the 
result made by the Returning Officer, a copy whereof is 
hereto annexed and marked A. 

9. That the result of the said election was published 
in the Gazette of India (Extra ordinary) Part-I Section 
I, dated 26th January 1952, at page 130. The respective 
returns of election expenses have been duly lodged with the 
Returning Officer under Rule 112 of the Representation 
of the People (Conduct of Election and Election Petitions) 
Rules, 1951, by the Petitioner No. 1 on 10th March 1952 
and by the Petitioner No. 2 on 7th March 1952. 

10. The Petitioners say that the Returning Officer 
has declared at the counting of the votes that the 
candidates who contested the election had obtained 
several double votes which the Returning Officer had to 
cancel as being null and void. The Petitioners say that 


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ELECTION PETITION 413 

as a result of the inspection it was found that such invalid 
votes found in the ballot boxes of the Petitioner Nos. 1 and 2 
and of the Respondent Nos. 1, 2, 3,4, 5 and 6 and cancelled 
as being double votes, are as shown below : — 


Petitioner 

No. 

1 

- 

2,921 

Petitioner 

No. 

2 

- 

5,597 

Respondent 

No. 

1 

- 

39,165 

Respondent 

No. 

2 

- 

6,634 

Respondent 

No. 

3 

- 

10,881 

Respondent 

No. 

4 

- 

1,168 

Respondent 

No. 

5 

- 

6,892 

Respondent 

No. 

6 

- 

1,025 


Total - 74,333 


The Petitioners will rely on the records in proof of this 
statement. 

The Petitioners submit that in the aggregate 74,333 ballot 
papers had been rejected and not counted at all as being void 
by the Returning Officer for the aforesaid reason. 

11. The Petitioners submit that at several polling stations 
of the aforesaid Constituency the voters to whom double voting 
papers were issued, did not, in thousands of cases, distribute 
the same as required by Section 63 (1) of the said Act, and 
their failure to comply with the provisions of Section 63 (1) of 
the said Act resulted in the said ballot papers being declared 
to be void and wholly worthless in respect of the election held 
in the said Constituency. 

12. The Petitioners say that the aforesaid large number of 
double votes being void votes, has been the result of corrupt 
practice of undue influence on the part of the Respondent 
Nos. 1 and 2 within the meaning of Section 123 (2) of the 
Representation of People Act, 1951, at the election as set 
out below and that the said corrupt practice has vitiated the 
entire election and has rendered the same void. 


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414 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

13. The Petitioners say that the Respondent Nos. 1 and 
2 during their election campaign carried on a fierce, virulent 
and malicious propaganda by leaflets, handbills and press 
statements and by speeches at public meetings held in the 
constituency and induced and illegally exhorted the voters 
to cast both their votes in favour of each of them in direct 
contravention of the provisions of Section 63 (1) of the Act. 
The Petitioners say that due to the aforesaid propaganda 
carried on by the Respondent Nos. 1 and 2. amongst the 
voters in the Constituency, the electors were falsely induced 
to give more than one votes to the same candidate by placing 
both the ballot papers issued to them in the same ballot box 
and thereby contravening the said section of the said Act and 
defeating the purpose and policy underlying it. 

14. (i) In a printed Marathi pamphlet addressed to and 
distributed amongst the voters in the said Bombay City North 
Constituency at the instance of the Respondent No. 1 or his 
agents and/or supporters, the Respondent No. 1 was described 
as the most capable leader of all, to lead the People’s Front in 
the House of the People. The voters were exhorted therefore, 
to cast both their votes in favour of the said Respondent No. 1 
avoiding to tell the voters whether voting in the manner 
suggested would benefit Respondent No. 1. A copy of the 
English translation of the relevant portion of the said handbill 
is annexed hereto the marked B. 

(ii) A Marathi weekly paper entitled ‘Yugantar’ printed at 
Bombay gave instructions to the Bombay voters in its issue 
dated 29th December 1951 at page 4, columns 1, 2 and 3 
whereby the voters receiving two ballot papers were, inter 
alia, falsely instructed and exhorted to drop both the ballot 
papers in the box with picture of the Engine pasted on it i.e. 
into the ballot box of the Respondent No. 1 again avoiding 
to tell the voters whether voting in the manner suggested 
would benefit Respondent No. 1. The Yugantar is an organ 
of the Communist Party of which the Respondent No. 1 was 
a nominee for the Parliamentary seal. A copy of the English 
translation of the said instructions is annexed hereto and 
marked C. 

(iii) Similarly in leaflet in Marathi issued over the signature 
of the Respondent No. 1 described as the United Front of the Leftist 


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ELECTION PETITION 415 

candidate for the House of the People from the said Bombay 
City North Constituency. It was stated, inter alia, that if the 
voters wanted their candidate to be elected they should cast 
both their votes for the Respondent No. 1. The Respondent 
No. 1 stated further that the waste of one of the two votes 
did not in any way violate democracy because according to 
the Respondent No. 1 giving of a vote by the non-Scheduled 
Castes voters to a candidate for the seat reserved for the 
Scheduled Castes is itself against the interests of democracy 
of the Scheduled Caste voters. Then referring particularly to 
the Petitioner No. 1 the Respondent No. 1 stated in the said 
pamphlet that as the Petitioner No. 1 as a Scheduled Caste 
candidate, was according to the Respondent- entitled to contest 
both the seats, it was desirable that the Respondent No. 1 
must take both the votes for himself and that all those who 
wanted to make United Front of Leftist nomination successful, 
should give both their votes to the ‘Engine’ (the symbol of 
the Party on whose ticket the Respondent No. 1 stood for 
election). A copy of the English translation of the said leaflet 
is annexed hereto and marked D. 

15. In a press statement published by the Respondent No. 
2 in the Marathi Weekly in Bombay entitled Vividh Vritta, 
in its issue of the 30th December 1951 under the caption, 
‘ Bombay City North Constituency Parliamentary Election 
Trap’, ‘Warning to the Voters’ the Respondent No. 2 warned 
the voters in this Constituency, where a reserved seat for the 
Scheduled Castes is provided, that a virtual trap to enable 
the two Scheduled Castes candidates to capture both the 
seats had been laid by the Petitioner No. 1, who beings to 
the Scheculed Castes. The Respondent No. 2 further stated 
in the said statement that in order to escape the trap, the 
voter should cast his votes as he himself wanted to without 
paying any heed to any party or pact and completely 
disregarding, what he conveys, “the influence of self seeking 
leaders.” He still further added that “that alone would be 
his duty”, meaning thereby that the voters should cast both 
their votes to a candidate other than the Petitioner No. 1 
if they wanted to avoid the Petitioner No. 1, who belonged 
to Scheduled Caste being elected with the Respondent No. 5 
who also belonged to the Scheduled Castes, and thereby the 
Scheduled Castes candidates carrying both the seats and 


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416 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

the non-Scheduled Castes community going unrepresented. 
An English translation of the said statement issued by and 
on behalf of the Respondent No. 2 is hereto annexed and 
marked E. 

16. Then again the said Marathi Weekly, the Vividha Vritta, 
sponsoring the cause of the Respondent No. 2, published a 
statement under the caption ‘Ruse in Voting’, in its issue dated 
30th December 1951 at page 1 column 5 wherein it is stated, 
inter alia, that both the votes can be dropped in the box of a 
Caste Hindu candidate and that voting in this manner is in 
no way illegal. It is further stated that voters have complete 
freedom to cast both their votes for one candidate alone. An 
English translation of statement referred to in this para is 
hereto annexed and marked F. 

17. The Petitioners say that the Respondent Nos. 1 and 2 
in view of what is contained in the foregoing parts 13,14,15,16 
of this Petition not only misled the voters but also played 
upon the communal feeling of the Caste Hindu voters; the 
Respondent No. 2 particularly raising the communal feeling 
of the Caste Hindu voters by creating a fear complex in them 
that their interest would be in jeopardy if they distributed 
their votes as required by law. 

18. The Petitioners say that the Respondent Nos. 1 and 2 
not only did create an alarm in the mind of the Caste Hindu 
voters in the said Bombay City North Constituency but failed 
to explain the provisions of Section 54 of the Act, which 
prescribes how the results of election are to be determined 
and declared. 

19. In the aforesaid manner the Respondent Nos. 1 and 2 
mispresented the law and misled the Caste Hindu voters into 
believing that in any and every circumstance it was probable 
for the Scheduled Castes candidates to get themselves elected 
to both the seats to the exclusion of Caste Hindu community 
candidates. 

20. The Petitioners say that in the aforesaid manner the 
Respondent Nos. 1 and 2 practised deception on the Caste 
Hindu voters and willfully and fraudulently induced them 
cast both their votes in their favour. 


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ELECTION PETITION 417 

21. The Petitioners submit that in view of what is stated 
in the foregoing paras, the Respondent Nos. 1 and 2 have 
by themselves their Agents and other persons acting for 
and on their behalf, exercised undue influence during their 
election campaign preceding the side election inasmuch as 
they actively interfered with the free exercise of the electoral 
right of the voters within the meaning of Section 123 (2) of 
the Act and that the election on that account has not been 
a free election within the meaning of Section 100 (i) (a) of 
the said Act. 

22. The Petitioners further say that the Respondent 
Nos. 1 and 2 knew that they could not derive any benefit 
to themselves by their propaganda to appropriate both the 
votes to themselves. All the same they persisted in the said 
propaganda because they were actuated by the malicious 
motive to injure the prospects of the Petitioner Nos. 1 and 2. 

23. The Petitioners submit that the large number of double 
votes cast by the voters in favour of the Respondent Nos. 1 
and 2 as herein above stated in para 10 is evidence of the 
fact that the undue influence exerted by the Respondent Nos. 
1 and 2 in the said Constituency has extensively prevailed 
at the Election. 

24. The Petitioners therefore say that the election has 
not been a free election by reason of the corrupt practices of 
undue influence which extensively prevailed at the election, 
and that hence the said election should be declared wholly 
void. 

25. That Petitioners have deposited Rs. 1,000 with the 
Reserve Bank of India in favour of the Secretary of the 
Election Commission as security for the costs of the Petition as 
required by Section 117 of the Representation of the Peoples 
Act, 1951. The original receipt showing that the said amount 
has been deposited in hereto annexed and marked G. 

26. That this Petition is accompanied by a list of 
the particulars of the corrupt practices committed by 
the Respondent Nos. 1 and 2 signed and verified as 
required by Section 83 (2) of the Representation of the 
People Act, 1951 and is hereto annexed and marked H. 


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418 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

27. That this Petition is being presented within the time 
allowed under Rule 119 (b) of the Representation of the People 
(Conduct of Election and Election Petitions) Rules, 1951, 11th 
March 1952 being the date on which the time for lodging of 
the return of expenses under sub-rule (1) of Rule 112 of the 
said Rules expired. 

28. The Petitioner No. 2 craves leave to submit any other 
Petition on grounds other than those advanced in this Petition. 

Your Petitioner, therefore, pray 

(a) that an Election Tribunal be appointed for the trial of 
the Petition; 

(b) that the election to the House of the People from the 
Bombay City North Parliamentary Constituency held 
on 3rd January 1952 be declared wholly void; 

(c) that the Petitioners’ costs of this Petition be provided 
for; and 

(d) that Petitioners may have such further and other 
reliefs as the nature of the case may require and for 
the purpose aforesaid all such orders may be passed 
and directions given including scrutiny of votes as may 
be deemed necessary and proper. 

(Sd) B.R.Ambedkar 
(Sd) Ashoka Mehta 

(Petition drawn by) 

(Mr. N. C. N. Acharya, 

Advocate O. S.) 

(Sd) Kothare & Co. 

Attorneys for the 

Petitioners. 

We, (1) Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar and (2) Ashoka Ranjitram 
Mehta of Bombay Inhabitants residing respectively at Rajgriha, 
Hindu Colony, Dadar, and 3, Aadyseth Street near Babulnath 
Temple without the Fort of Bombay do solemnly declare that what 


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ELECTION PETITION 419 

is stated in paras 1 to 9 and 11 to 26 of the foregoing Petition 
is true to our own knowledge and that what is stated in para 
10 is stated on information and belief and we believe the 
same to be true. 


Solemnly declared by ) 

Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar ) 
the Petitioner No. 1 ) 

above named at Bombay ) 

aforesaid this 21st day ) 

of April 1952. ) 


Seal 


Solemnly declared by ) 

Ashoka Ranjitram Mehta ) 

the Petitioner No. 2 ) 

above named at Bombay ) 

aforesaid this 21st day ) 

of April 1952. ) 


Seal 


(Sd.)B.R. Ambedkar 

Before me 
(Sd.) H. K. Patel 
Presidency Magistrate, 
XI Court, Kurla, Bombay 
21-4-1952. 


(Sd) Ashoka Mehta 

Before me 

(Sd.) H. K. Patel 
Presidency Magistrate, 
XI Court, Kurla, Bombay 
21-4-1952. ’ n 


1 : Khairmode, Vol. 10, Pp. 269-280. 


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420 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Use of Agents at General Elections 

Dr. Ambedkar’s Plea. 

“Anything which causes a disturbing effect on the minds 
of voters amounts to undue influence and interference. If a 
candidate carries on propaganda to frighten voters then he has 
caused interference and obviously disturbed the minds of voters. 
If he conceals an important point of law from the electorate he 
commits a fraud on voters or brings about undue influence on 
them. And to tell voters to act contrary to the electoral law is 
corrupt practice. 

There were some of the points of law Dr. B. R. Ambedkar 
submitted to the Election Tribunal, composed of Mr. N. J. Wadia, 
Chairman, Mr. M. K. Lalkaka, and Mr. G. P. Murdeshwar at the 
resumed hearing of his petition and that of the Socialist Leader, 
Mr. Ashoka Mehta, complaining of malpractices at the last General 
Elections from the Bombay City North Constituency, on Friday. 

Dr. Ambedkar, who appeared in person, argued at length on 
the question of agency at elections and touched on propaganda 
some of the candidates had made through newspapers and 
pamphlets and went on to prove that those publications had 
amounted to undue influence with particular reference to Section 
123 (2) of the Representation of the People’s Act. 

UNDUE INTERFERENCE 

He pointed out the difference between the English and 
the Indian law and said that the former particularised undue 
interference while the latter only used the word in a general sense. 

He referred to the statements published by and on behalf 
of Mr. S. A. Dange, the Communist candidate, and Dr. G. V. 
Deshmukh, the Independent candidate, and said that by asking 
voters to cast both their votes in favour of one candidate they 
had caused undue influence on them. One of the four witnesses 
previously examined had admitted that Mr. Dange knew that 
the Left United Front which supported his candidature to 
Parliamentary seat, had issued leaflets, but at no stage had 
he intervened and asked the Front to stop the issuing of the 
leaflets, he said. 

The petitioner contended that Mr. Dange was responsible for 
his agents’ doings. The Ugantar, a Marathi weekly, had in an 


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ELECTION PETITION 421 

hesitant manner admitted that it was an organ of the Communist 
Party and that the two members of the Front in their evidence 
had also admitted that they had made propaganda to support 
the candidature of Mr. Dange. On the basis of the submission, 
he said, there could be no doubt that they were Mr. Dange’s 
agents. 

Dr. Ambedkar tried to trace the relationship between 
Vividh Vritta, a Sunday Marathi weekly, and Dr. Deshpande 
(Deshmukh), and said that the statement the respondent had 
published in the paper was not to enlighten voters. In fact, it 
was given to that particular newspaper and to no other and 
this, in his contention, proved that there was a link between 
the paper and the respondent. 

At this stage, Dr. Deshmukh stood up and requested 

the tribunal that Dr. Ambedkar might be asked to address 
his question. “I am not asking you any question. In fact, you 
have raised them and I am only trying to answer them,” was 
Dr. Ambedkar’s reply which caused laughter in the Court room. 

Earlier Mr. K. V. Chitre, Registrar of Siddharth College and 
an agent of Dr. Ambedkar gave evidence. 

The hearing will be continued on Monday.” 

(The Times of India, 4-10-1952) 1 
“PROPAGANDA FOR WASTAGE OF VOTES IS ILLEGAL” 
Dr. Ambedkar’s Plea In Election Dispute 

It was a gross perversion of law to arouse communal 
feelings among the electorate by frightening it that it would go 
unrepresented if it distributed votes, declared Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, 
arguing his petition before the Election Tribunal, composed of 
Mr. N. J. Wadia, Chairman, Mr. M. D. Lalkaka and Mr. G. P. 
Murdeshwar, at the Small Causes Court, Bombay, on Monday. 

He was referring to the communal propaganda that had been 
carried on in the Bombay City North Constituency by Dr. G. 
V. Deshmukh, who, he said, was the leader of the Independent 
Candidates’ Group, comprising 17 candidates. 

“I cannot find worse propaganda than this,” said Dr. Ambedkar, 
and added “Because of the realisation of the psychology of Caste 
Hindus, who did not want Untouchables to occupy important posts 


1 Khairmode, Vol. 10, Pp. 298-299. 


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422 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

in the legislature, a special provision was made for Scheduled 
Castes in the Montague - Chelmsford Reforms. There is a similar 
provision in the Representation of the People’s Act also.” 

The petitioner contended that Dr. Deshmukh has 

conceded the provisions of Section 54 of the Act from the electorate 
while the Communist candidate, Mr. S. A. Dange, by preaching 
the nullification of Section 63, had set the law at naught. He 
charged both the respondents with adopting corrupt practices 
and unduly influencing the voters. 

DISPOSAL OF VOTES 

Dr. Ambedkar submitted that the disposal of one of the two 
votes was not left to the wishes of voters or, for that matter, 
of candidates. The disposal of the second vote was regulated 
by Section 79 (d) which, he said, gave the electorate the option 
to vote or not to vote as voting was not compulsory in India. 
He raised the following points (1) A voter was free to exercise 
his electoral rights; (2) He could go to the polling booth and 
receive both his ballot papers and distribute them; (3) He could 
use one of them and return the other to the Presiding Officer; 
(4) To use one ballot paper and destroy the other was illegal and 
an offence according to Section 136(e) (f);(5)To cast one ballot 
paper in the ballot box and take the other with him would be 
illegal, according to Section 135, and (6) To insert both the ballot 
papers in one box was also illegal, according to Rule 25 (1) and 
a violation of the Act. 

He stated that Section 100 clearly stated that “an election 
shall be set aside on the ground of corrupt practices extensively 
prevailing,” and asked if the Tribunal did not consider the 74,333 
votes wasted as the result of the perverse propaganda to be 
a large figure. “I lost my seat by 13,000 votes. I am not very 
presumptuous, but out of the 39,000 votes wasted by Mr. Dange, 
I would certainly have got a large number had it not been for the 
crucial propaganda of his and that of Dr. Deshmukh,” he said. 

“CHAPTER OF MISALLIANCE” 

Mr. A. S. R. Chari, counsel for Mr. Dange, described the 
petitions of Dr. Ambedkar and Socialist leader, Mr. Ashoka Mehta, 
as the closing chapter of misalliance between the Socialists and the 
Scheduled Castes Federation. He said the petitioners’ own witness 


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ELECTION PETITION 423 

Mr. Bapurao Jagtap, had told the Tribunal that the Left United 
Front had requested the petitioners “with folded hands” to 
join the Left United Front, a request they had refused only 
because they overestimated their strength. 

Mr. Chari said that there was no legal obligation on a voter 
to use both his votes as he could either vote or refrain from 
voting for a candidate in accordance with the clauses of Section 
63 of the Act. His arguments were: That the persuasion to vote 
only one candidate, or not to vote for any one candidate, did 
not constitute interference with the free exercise of the will 
of the voters according to the definition of “undue influence.” 
That any of the acts of Mr. Dange or any other candidate, 
did not come within the definition of “corrupt practice” as 
set out in the Representation of the People Act. That what 
Mr. Dange had done was only to persuade the voter and 
he had a right to do so. That the petitioners had filed their 
petitions only to provide a plausible excuse for their defeat 
before their supporters; and that the defeat of the petitioners 
in the last election was due to their arrogant refusal to join 
hands with the Left United Front which wanted to fight the 
Congress and the communal elements. 

UNDUE INFLUENCE 

Mr. T. R. Kapadia, counsel for V. B. Gandhi corroborating 
Mr. Chari’s argument, said that the petitioners had failed to 
prove who had exerted undue influence on voters. He asked 
whether the respondents alone were guilty of that charge or 
whether the petitioners were also equally guilty of it. 

Dr. Deshmukh, after obtaining consent “from -the Tribunal 
that he might be allowed to address it in place of his advocate, 
said that all parties were responsible for corrupt practices 
at the last elections. He admitted that the editor of “Vividh 
Vritta”, a Marathi weekly, was not only his agent but also 
his intimate friend. 

Hearing will be continued on Wednesday. 

The respondents are Mr. S. A. Dange, Dr. G. V. Deshmukh, 
Dr. V. B. Gandhi, Mr. K. B. Joshi, Mr. N, S. Kajrolkar and 
Mr. N. B. Parulkar. 


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424 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Mr. S. S. Kavalekar and Mr. Madhusudhan Vyas, instructed 
by Kothare and Company appeared for Mr. Ashoka Mehta; 
Mr. A. S. R. Chari and Mr. T. S. Hegde for Mr. Dange; 
Mr. Pandit for Dr. G. V. Deshmukh and Mr. T. R. Kapadia 
for Dr. Gandhi and Mr. Kajrolkar .” 1 

• • 


1 : The Times of India : dated 7-10-1952 
Reprinted Khairmode, Vol. 10, Pp. 300-302. 


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51 

COMMUNISTS IN MAHARASHTRA 

American Journalist Mr. Seling S. Harrison interviewed 
Dr. B. R. Ambedkar on 21st and 28th February and 9th 
October 1953 on the topic of weaknesses of the Communists 
State of Maharashtra. The interview is as follows: Editors. 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, who organised Mahars as a political 
force, accounted similarly for Communist weakness in 
Maharashtra : 

“The Communist Party was originally in the hands of some 
Brahmin boys — Dange and others. They have been trying to 
win over the Maratha community and the Scheduled Castes. 
But they have made no headway in Maharashtra. Why ? 
Because they are mostly a bunch of Brahmin boys. The 
Russians made a great mistake to entrust the Communist 
movement in India to them. Either the Russians didn’t want 
Communism in India — they wanted only drummer boys — or 
they didn’t understand’ 1 


• • 


1 : Ambedkar on Communism in India — quoted in the book, India : The 
Most Dangerous Decades, by Seling S. Harrison. Pp. 190-91. 

Quoted : Khairmode, Vol. 11, P. 164. 


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52 

STARVING PEOPLE ASK FOR BREAD 

Hyderabad Government proposed to allot lands to 
Scheduled Caste people. Hon. Minister Andhra Pradesh 
Shri Bindu told this decision to Dr. B. R. Ambedkar at 
the time of his visit to Delhi. Dr. Ambedkar asked Hon. 
Bindu to send copy of that order as early as possible. 
Government of Hyderabad had taken back possession of 
the land which was allotted to Scheduled Castes. In protest 
of this the Scheduled Castes started. Satyagraha. 1700 
people were arrested. Dr. Ambedkar wrote a strong letter 
to Hon. Bindu that the Government should handover the 
ownership of lands to the Scheduled Castes then only he 
will advise Scheduled Castes to withdraw the Satyagraha. 
The said letter is as follows : Editors. 

26, Alipur Road, Delhi 
Dated the 6th Nov. 1953. 


Dear Mr. Bindu, 

When we met in Delhi you promised to send me copies 
of the decision taken by the Hyderabad Government in 
regard to the grant of land to the Scheduled Castes. It is 
now more than a week but have not sent me the copies. 

From the newspapers it appears that about 1700 
men and women belonging to the Scheduled Castes in 
the Aurangabad district have been arrested and sent to 
jail for offering Satyagraha for the return of their lands 
which were granted to them and which were afterwards 
resumed. 

I do not know what the intention of the Government 
is. Perhaps it is to prosecute them and send to jail. If this 
happens it would be a great tragedy. It cannot redound 
to the credit of the Government to prosecute starving 
people and send them to jail because they ask for bread. 
I think you ought to release them, the law having been 
vindicated. 


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STARVING PEOPLE ASK FOR BREAD 427 

If the orders that your cabinet has passed are satisfactory 
from our point of view I may intervene and ask the Scheduled 
Castes to drop the Satyagraha. 

I shall be grateful for an early reply. 


Yours Sincerely, 
(Sd.) B. R. Ambedkar. 

Shri Bindu, 

Minister for Home Affairs, 

Hyderabad State, 

HYDERABAD ” 1 


• • 


1 : Khairmode, Vol. 11, Pp. 67-68. 


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53 

BUDDHIST SEMINARY TO BE STARTED IN 
BANGALORE 

“Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, M. P., said in Bombay on Tuesday* 
that a Buddhist seminary would be started in Bangalore as 
a preliminary steps to spreading Buddhism in India. 

Dr. Ambedkar, who has declared his intention to embrace 
Buddhism recently, said in an interview with P. T. I. that the 
Rajpramukh of Mysore had donated a five-acre plot which was 
situated in between the two well-known centres of learning, 
the Raman Institute and the Indian Institute of Science. 

He said as a result of his two visits to Burma recently, 
all help — financial and technical — from the world Buddhist 
Mission and the Buddha Sasana Council, had been promised. 

Dr. Ambedkar revealed that he had approached successfully 
for financial help to many people in the country and he 
would also shortly set out with the begging bowl for public 
contributions. 


Training Preachers 

With the money forthcoming, Dr. Ambedkar said, the 
seminary would be ready in about two year’s time. The 
main object of this institution would be to train preachers 
for propagating Buddhism among the common folk, he said. 

Dr. Ambedkar said that students would be admitted to the 
seminary without consideration of caste, creed or nationality 
and would undergo courses in comparative study of religions 
and other allied subjects. He believed that no one could 
uphold Buddhism truly without studying the other religions 
also scientifically. 

Dr. Ambedkar said the seminary would also have a press 
where Buddhist literature would be printed. A group of 
eminent scholars from all over the world would be engaged in 
translating Buddhist texts in Pali and other languages into 
English and they would be published by the seminary, he said. 


*The 11th January 1955. 


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BUDDHIST IN BANGALORE 429 

A large library with books on religion and philosophy 
would be another feature of the seminary. There would be 
also temples and classrooms and dormitories for students, 
teachers research scholars. 

He also said that an essay competition, with prizes worth 
Rs. 10,000 would be announced shortly.” 1 


• • 


1 : The Times of India, dated 12th January 1955. 


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54 

BUDDHISM DISAPPEARED FROM INDIA DUE TO 
WAVERING ATTITUDE OF THE LAITY 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, in his letter to D. Wali Sinha, General 
Secretary. Maha Bodhi Society, Calcutta, on 16th February 
1955 expressed his opinion about Dhamma Diksha. 

Following is the letter. — Editors. 

“I have been of the opinion that the conversion of the 
laity is not conversion at all. It is only a nominal thing. The 
so-called Buddhist laity besides worshipping the Buddha also 
continued to worship other Gods and Goddesses which were 
set up by the Brahmins to destroy Buddhism. Buddhism 
disappeared from India largely of this wavering attitude of 
the laity. If hereafter Buddhism is to be firmly established 
in India the laity must exclusively be tied up to it. This did 
not happen in the past because in Buddhism there was a 
ceremoney for initiation into the Sangh but there was no 
such ceremony for initiation into the Dhamma, In Christianity 
there are two ceremonies. (1) Baptism which is initiation into 
the Christian religion, (2) Ordination of the priest. In this 
respect the new movement for the propagation of Buddhism in 
India must copy Christianity. To remove this dangerous evil 
in Buddhism I have prepared formula which I call Dhamma 
Diksha. Every one who wishes to be converted to Buddhism 
shall have to undergo through ceremony. Otherwise he will 
not be regarded as a Buddhist.” 1 


• • 


1 : Khairmode, Vol. 12 First Edition — July 1992, Pp. 24-25. 


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55 

I’M PREPARED TO SAVE YOUR LIFE 
PROVIDED 

“During the first three months of 1955, Maurice Brown 
and Francis Watson of British Broadcasting Corporation, 
London, visited India, travelling, interviewing and 
recording some of those they knew could contribute, 
recorded their memories and opinions of Mahatma Gandhi. 
The extracts below contain in brief the text of interview 
they had with Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. To maintain a link 
the opinions of a few others have also been retained. 

Narrator : We are on the heights now, with the saint, 
the Mahatma. 

B. R. Ambedkar : He was never a Mahatma. I refuse 
to call him Mahatma, you see. I never in my life called 
him ‘Mahatma’. He doesn’t deserve that title. Not even 
from the point of view of morality. 

Narrator : Opposition. Opposition from Dr. Ambedkar, 
political” leader of the Scheduled Castes of India, the 
Untouchables. Gandhi wanted Untouchability to be 
dissolved by bringing the scheduled castes within the 
fold of Hinduism and removing all their disabilities. 
Dr. Ambedkar wanted protection for them as a separate 
community, which to Gandhi seemed morally wrong and 
politically dangerous. It was a very stern fight, leading 
in the end to one of Gandhi’s most celebrated fasts. 

B. R. Ambedkar : Oh of course, he bargained and 
bargained ; I said, nothing doing. I’m prepared to save 
your life, you see, providing you don’t make hard terms 
but I’m not going to save your life at the cost of the life 
of my people. I always say that as I met Mr. Gandhi in 
the capacity of an opponent I’ve a feeling. I knew him 
better than most other people, because he had opened 
his real fangs to me, you see, and I could see the inside 
of the man. 


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432 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Narrator : But one didn’t have to be an opponent to be 
wary of the idea of a Mahatma. J. B.Kripalani, the Indian 
Socialist leader, was not an opponent. He was a follower 
from 1917 until Gandhi’s death. 

J. B. Kripalani : He repudiated the idea of superman, 
he repudiated the idea of his becoming a Mahatma. He 
even said that if he were such a Mahatma, it would not 
be possible for us to understand him. Fundamentally, I 
believe, Gandhiji’s message was social, political, economic, 
and not spiritual in the sense in which spirituality is 
understood. I would say that we had enough of Gods and 
supermen. Gandhi was good enough as a man. 

Dhirendra Mohan Datta : I never thought that Mahatma 
Gandhi was typically Indian. 

Narrator : Dr. Datta is a well known philosopher now 
living at Santiniketan, the educational institution of 
Rabindranath Tagore which is now a University. 

Dhirendra Mohan Datta : To modern Hindus, he was 
their very ideal, the very ideal which they could follow 
with their European education and their European 
background and so on they could very easily sympathize 
with the Hindu ideals. But the orthodox Hindus thought 

that he was betraying that his Hinduism was not 

real Hinduism. 

B. R. Ambedkar : He was absolutely an orthodox Hindu. 

Narrator : Dr. Ambedkar thinks so. So did many but 
not all Muslims. Some of them felt that Gandhi’s attitude 
to Untouchability distinguished him. 

H. N. Brailsford : He once put it in this way, that 
he represented eighty-five per cent of the Indian people. 
Well, that was a bit of an exaggeration, because he never 
did represent more than a mere fraction of the Muslims. 
But when it came to the rest, Hindu and Sikhs and even 
Untouchables, then his boast was correct. 


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r M PREPARED PROVIDED 433 

Narrator : It was, at all events, sincere. Most deeply of 
all, he felt the cause of the Untouchables to be his own. 
Brailsford had some private talks with him about this. 

H. N. Brailsford : He spoke with a passion that meant, I 
think that he was suffering under a terrible sense of vicarious 
guilt. He knew how abominably his people, the Hindu Nation, 
had treated these outcasts ; and he was determined, just for 
that reason, that it should be his people, the Hindu Nation, 
that put matters right. 

Narrator : Gandhi’s own attempt to put matters right was 
at that time a new campaign, a new passion. Dr. Verrier 
Elwin was with him a few months earlier in India, almost 
at the start of things. 

Verrier Elwin : Yes, that was in 1931, and when I went 
with him to a temple which belonged to a leading mill-owner 
in Ahmedabad, and Gandhi took a party of Untouchable 
children into the temple. I still remember the faces of the 
orthodox priests when this happened, they didn’t like it at 
all, but afterwards Gandhi had a meeting and in the course 
of it he said that in future the Untouchables should be called 
the children of God, the Harijans, by which name they’ve 
been known ever since. 

Narrator : But there was a new and formidable face 
at the Round Table Conference. Dr. Ambedkar, born an 
Untouchable, had pulled himself up by his own gifts and 
character, and didn’t want any Caste Hindu to do penance 
for him. 

B. R. Ambedkar : Give us a separate electorate, you see. 

Narrator : Dr. Ambedkar was direct and implacable. Even 
afterwards he never changed towards Gandhi. 

B.R. Ambedkar : All this, talk about Untouchability was 
just for the purpose of making the Untouchables drawn into 
the Congress, that was one thing, and secondly, you see, 
he wanted that the Untouchables should not oppose his 
movement of Swaraj. I don’t think beyond that he had any 
real motive of uplift. 


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434 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Narrator : But Gandhi’s motives were strong enough, after 
he had gone back to India, to be tested in the great fast at 
Poona. He was prepared for it, Pyarelal remembers, amid the 
conflicts of the London Conference. 

Pyarelal Nayar : He said he would not sell the vital interests 
of the Untouchables even for the sake of India’s independence, 
but he knew that separate electrorates were not good for the 
vast mass of Untouchables. He said, therefore, that he would 
resist it even if he were alone, with his life. At that time 
again, nobody thought what it would ultimately result in .” 1 


• • 


1 : B.B.C. — Talking of Gandhiji, Orient Longmans, Bombay, Calcutta and 
Madras. Script and Narration by Francis Watson, Production by Maurice 
Brown, Pages 9, 10, 16, 78 and 79. 

Reprinted : Rattu, Reminiscences and Rememberance of Dr. B. R. 
Ambedkar, Pp. 159-162. 


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56 

A POLITICAL PARTY DOES NOT EXIST FOR 
WINNING ELECTION BUT FOR EDUCATING, 
AGITATING AND ORGANIZING THE PEOPLE 

A meeting of the Working Committee of Scheduled 
Castes Federation was called by its President Dr. B. R. 
Ambedkar on 21st August 1955 which was held at Jairaj 
House, Bombay. 

In this meeting the Constitution of Scheduled Castes 
Federation which was printed in January 1955 was 
discussed. Some amendments to the various articles were 
suggested and accepted. 

The Report of this Working Committee along with 
amendments is as follows — Editors. 

The Working Committee of the All India Scheduled 
Castes Federation, Jairaj House, Bombay. 

The following members of All India Working Committee 
of the S. C. F. were present at the meeting of the Working 
Committee called by the President, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, 
M. A., Ph.D.,D.Sc, LL.D., D. Litt., Bar-at-Law, Member of 
Council of States on 21st August, 1955 at 4 p. m. at Jairaj 
House, Colaba, Bombay : 

1. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, 

2. Shri Rajabhau Khobragade (Madhya Pradesh) 

3. Shri A. Ratnam (Madras) 

4. Shri Haridas Awode (Nagpur, Madhya Pradesh) 

5. Shri J. C. Adimugam (Mysore) 

6. Shri J. S. Bansode (Madhya Bharat) 

7. Shri C. M. Arumugam (Mysore) 

8. Shri Nilam Singh Gill (Pepsu) 

9. Shri B. S. More (Aurangabad) 

10. Shri R. D. Bhandare (Bombay) 


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436 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

11. Shri Hardas Asharwar (Vindhya Pradesh) 

12. Shri G. T. Parmar (Gujarat) 

13. Shri B.K. Gaikwad (Maharashtra) 

14. Shri A. G. Pawar (Maharashtra) 

15. Shri V. Doraswami (Mysore) 

16. Shri M. G. Velu (Madras) 

17. Shri W. S. Kamble (Berar) 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : “Friends, we are meeting after a 
long time. There are various reasons why we did not meet 
earlier. As far as I am concerned, you know that I am not 
keeping good health. What I have noticed is that you have 
not learnt to carry on the work of S. C. F. without me. The 
time has come that you must be able to carry on the work 
even if I am not present. I should be a sort of consultant. 
Wherever there is any difficulty you can consult me at any 
time”. After these preliminary remarks the various resolutions 
were taken up for discussion. 

Resolution No. 1 : This meeting of the Working Committee 
confirms the Selection by the last Working Committee of 
Dr. Babasaheb alias B. R. Ambedkar as the President of the 
Federation. 

Proposed by : A, Ratnam (Madras) 

Seconded by : G. C. Arumugam 
Supported by : B. K. Gaikwad 

The resolution was carried unanimously. 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : There are some old members 
who have expressed some doubts as to whether the S. C. F. 
should continue or not. But I am of the opinion that as long 
as the problem of Untouchability remains the S. C. F. should 
continue to function. The question may arise as to whether 
we should work in co-operation with any other party at the 
time of election. But you know what is our experience when 
we have worked in co-operation with other parties. But such 
question will be considered at the proper time. For the time 
being we should consider this question of continuing our S. C. F. 


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A POLITICAL PARTY THE PEOPLE 437 

Resolution No. 2: “The Working Committee of the All 
India Scheduled Castes Federation is aware of the defeat 
which the Federation has suffered at the last election. The 
Working Committee, however, is in no way discouraged by 
it. Such defeats are usual and normal. A Political Party does 
not exist merely for the sake of winning election. A Political 
party exists for the sake of educating, agitating and organising 
the people. This work the Federation has done beyond doubt 
and beyond measure. 

This meeting of the Working Committee desires to state 
emphatically that the S. C. Federation cannot be wound up 
until the problems arising out of Untouchability are not solved. 

Proposed by : Shri H. D. Awode 

Seconded by ; Shri M. J. Velu 

The resolution was earned unanimously. 

Resolution No. 3 : “This meeting of the Working Committee 
of the S. C. F. regrets that the Election Commission was wrong 
in declaring the S.C.F. not to be an All India Party. Whether 
a party is an All India Party or not must be determined by 
the number of votes cast in its favour and not by the number 
of seats won by it. In calculating the number of votes cast the 
Election Commission failed to take into consideration that all 
the second votes of the Scheduled Castes voters were cast in 
favour of the Socialist Candidates on account of the Election 
Pact between the S.C.F. and the Socialist Party while the 
Socialist Party voters did not give their votes to the S. C. 
candidates. If the votes cast by the S. C. voters in favour of 
the Socialist candidates were added to the votes cast by the S. 
C. voters in favour of the S. C. candidates, the total number 
of votes polled by the Federation would be far greater than 
the votes polled by the Socialist Party. 

This Working Committee, therefore, urges upon the Election 
Commission to restore the status of an All India Party which 
was given to it at the first election. 

Moved by : Shri A. G. Pawar (Maharashtra) 

Seconded by : Shri V. Doraswami (Mysore) 

This resolution was carried unanimously. 


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438 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Resolution No. 4 : The following amendment to the 
Constitution as drafted by the President are made : 

Amendment to article I : The clause 2 after the figure 
1957 add the words” or such other date as may be appointed 
by the Central Executive 

Amendment to article II : Adopt the following sub- 
clause as the sub-clause No. VII after the Sub-Clause No. 
VI, Sub-Clause No. VII reads as follows : “To issue literature 
and to conduct printing presses. Delete sub-clause III, IV, V 
and VI which are printed twice as they being the printers’ 
mistakes. 

Amendment to article VI: (i) Remove hyphens from 
clauses 3,4, 5,6. 7, 8, 9 and 10. 

(ii) After clause 10 add the following clause as the clause 
No. 11. 

“The number of members of the Village Committee, 
Taluka Committee, District Committee and the State 
Committee shall be as determined by the State Federation 
Committee of each State with the consent of the Central 
Committee 

Amendment to article VII : (1) In sub-clause II of the 
clause I, after the word “Federation” add the word “and 
Regional Secretaries.” 

(2) Delete the sub-clause No. IV which is after the sub- 
clause No. V. It is printed twice. 

Amendment to article VIII : (1) In clause 1 drop the 
hyphen in the second line after the words “consist of’. 

(2) In sub-clause 4 add “The” before the word “President.” 

(3) After sub-clause 5 add the following : 

“6. The President shall appoint Regional Secretaries for 
different regions not exceeding five in number”. 

(4) After clause 7 add the following : 

“8. The Regional Secretaries shall do the work of organising 
the Federation within their jurisdiction and shall perform such 


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A POLITICAL PARTY THE PEOPLE 439 

other duties as the President. The President may prescribe 
and shall keep the President and General Seceretary 
informed”. 

Amendment to article X : For the word “bi-annually” 
in clause 1, line two, add the words “Every two years”. 

Amendment to article XIV : In sub-clause No. 5 last 
line read the word “Offices” in place of officers so as to read 
“access to all offices”. 

Amendment to article XVII : In clause No. 4 line No. 2 
delete the words “States Federation” and substitute therein 
the “All India Committee of the Federation”. 

Amendment to article XXIII : In sub-clause 2, in fifth 
line delete the word “District” and substitute the word “State” 
therein. 

Amendment to article XXVI : (1) In sub-clause 1 delete 
the word “triangle” and substitute the word “Rectangle” 
therein. 

(2) In the same sub-clause add “11 Stars” after the words 
“Consists of’. 

All these above amendments were put to vote and were 
carried. 

Resolution No. 5 : “This meeting of the Working 
Committee adopts the Constitution for the All India Schedule 
Castes Federation and declares that the Federation shall be 
bound by it”. 

At this stage Dr. Babasaheb explained that the 
Constitution has become bulky one. Some portion of it, 
therefore can be transferred to “Standing Orders” so that 
the Constitution may be small one. 

The resolution was carried unanimously. 

Resolution No. 6 : This meeting of the Working 
Committee is of the opinion that the provision for the 
reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes in Parliament, 
in State Assemblies, in Municipalities and District and Local 


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440 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Boards be done away with immediately even before the 
next election”. 

Moved by : Shri A. G. Pawar and 
Seconded by : Shri A. Ratnam. 

This resolution was carried unanimously. 

Resolution No. 7. — (1) This meeting of the Working 
Committee of the Scheduled Castes Federation expresses 
its resentment against the Planning Commission for not 
having consulted the Federation to assist the Commission 
in devising ways and means for solving the problem of 
the Untouchables. 

(2) This meeting of the Working Committee of the 
Federation is of the opinion that in Planning Commission’s 
proposals there is none which would abolish Untouchability 
or remove the poverty of the Untouchables. 

(3) This meeting of the Working Committee of the 
Federation is convinced that it is the village system which 
is based on compulsory co-existence between Untouchables 
and Caste Hindus which is at the root of Untouchability 
and the poverty of the Untouchables. 

(4) When two parties decide to co-exist it is important 
that each should understand the other’s mind and mental 
attitude. Behind what he says we could have some idea of 
what and how he thinks. What constitutes the Communal 
mind ? How does it work and react ? Has it got recognisable 
corporate existence ? And, if so, is there a discernible 
pattern to be studied ; and what can we learn from it ? 
Where, indeed, do we begin ? 

It is our failure to study the caste Hindu reaction and 
to look below the surface of statements and propaganda 
that has been responsible for our past mistakes. The kind 
of Caste Hindu mind with which we must be concerned 
is not to be found in Caste Hindu (but behind the iron 
curtain). 

(5) It is the confirmed opinion of the Working Committee 
that this system of co-existence must be done away with. 


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A POLITICAL PARTY THE PEOPLE 441 

(6) This, in the opinion of the Working Committee, can 
be done by establishing separate villages exclusively of 
Untouchables who are now living scattered in small groups 
under the sovereignty of caste Hindus. 

(7) The Working Committee, therefore, urges upon the 
Planning Commission to reserve all cultivable waste-land, to 
make barren land cultivable and let colonies of Untouchables 
settled on such land. 

(8) The Working Committee is of the opinion that to raise 
the necessary finance that salt tax be re-levied”. 

Moved from the Chair, Dr. Babasaheb explained that 
he was thoroughly convinced in his mind that so long the 
Scheduled Castes live with the Caste Hindus our people will 
not live the life of freedom and liberty, free from oppression 
of the Caste Hindus. The Madras Govt, wanted to build new 
cherries for the Scheduled Castes but he was strongly opposed 
to this idea. He did not want that Untouchability should be 
made permanent by building new cherries. He wanted them 
to be burnt. 

This resolution was carried unanimously. 

Resolution No. 8. — (1) The Working Committee of the 
Federation is sorry for the deaths that have taken place 
in the Goa Satyagraha. The Committee is, however, of the 
opinion that Satyagraha is not proper means of achieving the 
liberation of Goa. 

(2) As understood by the Committee in Satyagraha, Satya is 
common ground to both. The difference is only on Agraha. In 
such a situation Satyagraha of the Gandhian type is possible 
and may be tried. But where there is no agreement of Satya, 
Satyagraha of the Gandhian type is a futility. The Working 
Committee cannot, therefore, advise the Scheduled Castes to 
join the Goa Satyagraha. 

(3) Working Committee of the Federation is of the 
opinion that Goa must become a part of India and that the 
Portuguese must quit. There are three ways of achieving 
this object. (1) purchase, (2) lease, or (3) War. If Government 
is not prepared to accept any one of these three ways it is 


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442 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

the duty of the Govt, to tell the people what other weapon 
it has”. 

Dr. Babasaheb explained that the satyagraha can be 
between two parties who agree on the “Truth” . The only 
difference between the parties is on Agraha. The British 
people could give freedom to India because both the British 
people and the Indians had agreed that the Indians have 
the right of Self-Government. In fact this principle of self 
Government was enunciated by Macaulay as far back as 
1833. Macaulay said that the Indians were not barbarions. 
The Indians have a distinct civilization and culture of 
their own. They, therefore, should be given the right to 
govern themselves. But in the case of Goa the Portugues 
Government did not agree on the question of freedom of 
Goa. Satyagraha, therefore, as a weapon of liberating 
Goa is not only useless but dangerous. I cannot allow our 
people to be exposed to bullets and massacre. If we are 
given guns, we will fight. We, therefore, want to pass the 
above resolution. 

The resolution was carried unanimously. 

Resolution No. 9. — “This meeting of the Working 
Committee is not satisfied with the foreign policy of 
the country. It is neither calculated to strengthen the 
parliamentary system of Government nor the defence of 
the country”. 

After this resolution was carried, the President 
announced that he has appointed Shri Rajabhau Khobragade 
as the General Secretary of the All India Scheduled Castes 
Federation. 

Resolution No. 10. — Resolution congratulating Shri 
Khobragade was passed. 

The Chairman was thanked for guiding the deliberations 
of the Working Committee. 

All members of the Working Committee were also 
thanked. 


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A POLITICAL PARTY THE PEOPLE 443 

This Working Committee of the Scheduled Castes 
Federation further resolved that the President be empowered 
to draft a resolution on Linguistic Provinces embodying the 
following points : — 

(1) The States be so divided as to maintain a Unity of the 
Country. 

(2) The administrative languages should be English and 
Hindi. 

(3) Bombay should belong to the United Maharashtra. 

(4) Hyderabad City should be a second capital of India 
making it a Governor’s province. 

(5) Hyderabad State be divided into different Linguistic 
Units. 


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57 

A LETTER TO JAWAHARLAL NEHRU 
REGARDING THE BOOK ‘BUDDHA AND HIS 

DHAMMA’ 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar had written a letter, on 14th September 
1956 to Pandit Jawahadal Nehru regarding a book on “The 
Buddha and his Dhamma”. It is as follows : Editors. 

My dear Panditji, 

I am enclosing herewith two copies of a printed booklet 
showing the Table of Contents of a book on “The Buddha and 
His Dhamma” which I have just finished. The book is in the 
press. From the table of the contents you will see for yourself 
how exhaustive the work is. The book is expected to be in the 
Market in September 1956. I have spent five years over it. The 
booklet will speak for the quality of the work. 

The cost of printing is very hevy and will come to about 
Rs. 20,000. This is beyond my capacity and I am, therefore, 
canvassing help from all quarters. 

I wonder if the Government of India could purchase about 500 
copies for distribution among the various libraries and among 
the many scholars whom it is inviting during the course of this 
year for the celebration of the Buddha’s 2500 years’ anniversary. 

I know your interest in Buddhism. That is why I am writing 
to you. I hope that you will render some help in this matter. 


Yours sincerely, 
(Signed) B. R. AMBEDKAR. 

Pt. NEHRU’S REPLY 

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had responded to the letter of 
Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. He expressed his inability to purchase 
the Book “Buddha and His Dhamma”. He referred this to 
Dr. Radhakrishnan, the Chairman of Buddha Jayanti Commttee. 
Following is the reply by Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru : Editors. 

Shri Jawaharlal Nehru, 

Prime Minister of India, 

NEW DELHI. 

No. 2196-PMH/56. 

NEW DELHI 
September 15, 1956. 


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A LETTER HIS DHAMMA 445 

My dear Dr. Ambedkar, 

Your letter of the 14th September. 

I rather doubt if it will be possible for us to buy a large 
number of copies of your book suggested by you. We had set 
aside a certain sum for publication on the occasion of the 
Buddha Jayanti. That sum has been exhausted and, in fact, 
exceeded. Some proposals for books relating to Buddhism being 
financed by us had, therefore, to be rejected. I am, however, 
sending your letter to Dr. Radhakrishnan, the Chairman of 
the Buddha Jayanti Committee. 

I might suggest that your book might be on sale in Delhi 
and elsewhere at the time of the Buddha Jayanti celebrations 
when many people will come from abroad. It might find a 
good sale then. 


Yours sincerely, 

(Signed) JAWAHARLAL NEHRU. 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, 

26, Alipur Road, Civil Lines, 

DELHI. 

Dr. S. Radhakrishnan informed on phone to Dr. B. R. 
Ambedkar expressing his inability to do anything in this 
regard. 


• • 


Khairmode, Vol. 12, Pp. 39-40. 


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58 

BHIKHUS SHOULD SERVE THE BUDDHA BY 
BECOMING PREACHERS OF HIS DHAMMA 

“Dr. B. R. AMBEDKAR, 

M.A., Ph.D., D.Sc, LL.D., D.Litt., Barrister-at-Law, 
Member, Council of States 
26, ALIPORE ROAD, CIVIL LINES, DELHI 

Dated the 30th October 1956. 

My dear Valisinha, 

Thank you very much for your letter of 25th October 
1956. It certainly was a great event and the crowd that came 
forward for conversion was beyond my expectation. Thank the 
Buddha it all went well. 

I am glad you realize that having begun the task well 
we have to look to its continued progress in the future. We 
have to consider ways and means of imparting knowledge of 
Buddhism to the masses who have accepted His Dhamma 
and will accept it on my word. We should no doubt train 
large number of workers to teach Dhamma to the people, but 
the best agents for carrying out the same are the Bhikkus. 
They would carry a great deal of prestige with them which 
no layman could do. 

The Bhikkus in my judgement ought to be very happy to 
find out that a large task awaiting them has been done. The 
only difficulty with the Bhikkus is that they don’t care to 
learn the language of the people. I am afraid the Sangh will 
have to modify its outlook and instead of becoming recluses 
they should become like the Christian missionaries the social 
workers and social preachers. As I told you today they are 
neither Arhans nor useful members of the society. This fact 
must be hammered into them and make them realize that 
they could serve the Buddha well by becoming preachers of 
His Dhamma. 

I like your idea of opening a sort of the logical seminar where 
Bhikkus and non-Bhikkus could be taught the fundamentals 
of Buddhism and make to learn the different languages of 
India so that they could be sent to the different parts. 


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BHIKHUS SHOULD HIS DHAMMA 447 

So far as my reading of the mind of the Indian youth 
is concerned it is very difficult to make them turn to learn 
the monestic ideals. The best way is that we can create 
like Japanese married priests like the protestant Christians 
have done. For that we shall have to find means for their 
support during their educational period and after they go 
out public life as priests. 

The conversion ceremony in Bombay will probably take 
place in December, most probably during the X’mas holidays 
so that many people could have travel facilities which they 
would not otherwise get. I shall let you have the exact date 
after consulting my Bombay people. 

I hope you are giving full publicity to the Nagpur 
ceremony, in the Maha Bodhi Journal. I would like you to 
particularly mention the following points : 

1. that on the first day some three lakhs and eighty 
thousand people became converts to Buddhism. As 
many people arrived after the ceremony was over a 
second ceremony was held on the next day as the 
first item in the programme. 

2. that there was another conference at Chanda on 16th 
October 1956 which was held in the evening. There 
also another conversion ceremony was held and some 
3 lakhs of people were converted. 

3. According to the news item in yesterday’s paper 
there was again a conversion ceremony held at Akola 
after I came away and more than 2000 people were 
converted. 

4. That a Marathi paper called ‘Navyug’ has published 
some fine photographs of the crowd that attended 
conversion ceremony at Nagpur. 

5. That I am receiving letters from all corners for 
conversion. 

If you are issuing a special number of Mahabodhi Society 
Journal and desire, to obtain photographs I can help you 
to obtain the same. Please let me know. 


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448 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

With reference to your querry as to our tour programme 
I am told a copy of the same has already been sent to you. 
You will know from it when I shall be in Sarnath. 


Yours Sincerely, 

(Sd.) (Dr. B. R. Ambedkar) 


Shri D. Valisinha, 

General Secretary, 

Maha Bodhi Society of India, 

4- A, Bankim Chatterjee Street, 
(College Square), Calcutta-2.” 1 


• • 


1 : Mahabodhi ; May 1957, Number 5, P. 226. 


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59 

I BELIEVE, MY PEOPLE WILL SACRIFICE 
EVERYTHING TO ESTABLISH BUDDHISM 

IN INDIA 

“Dr. B. R. Ambedkar and Mrs. Ambedkar accompanied 
by Mr. B. H. Varale and Dr. Mavalankar left for Nepal to 
participate in the World Buddhist Conference scheduled to 
take place on the 17th November 1956. 

While leaving for Nepal, on November 13th, 1956, Mr. Y. C. 
Shankaranand Shastri very respectfully enquired at the Air 
Port, New Delhi, “Baba Saheb, in view of your failing health 
how far will it be possible for you to tour India to propagate 
the Dhamma ?” Baba Saheb felt slightly irritated but strongly 
asserted, for the task like propagation of Buddhism I am 
not at all ill. I am prepared to utilise every moment of my 
remaining life for the great task of revival and propagation 
of Buddha’s Dhamma in Bharat. 

“I am going to administer “Deeksha” to lakhs of people in 
Bombay in the month of December. The kind of great revival 
meeting took place in Nagpur on the 14th October 1956 will 
also be arranged in Bombay where millions of people will 
be converted to Buddhism. Conversion meeting like the one 
which took place in Nagpur will also be organised in other 
cities of India.” 

“Not only the people treated as Untouchables but all people, 
irrespective of caste or religion, who believe in the teachings 
of the Buddha should participate in this Deeksha ceremony 
and embrace Buddhism.” 

During the course of conversation with people present 
there, Baba Saheb Ambedkar strongly asserted, “It is 
very wrong to believe that Buddha is incarnation of 
Vishnu. This is a false and mischievous propaganda”. The 
preachers of this diabolical theory are none other than the 
followers of Brahminism. Their sole aim is to maintain 
the stratification based on inequality and mutual hatred 
in order to maintain their hold on the society. I have been 


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450 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

struggling throughout my life to abolish this evil practice of 
division based on caste and mutual hatred. In reality, I feel 
guilty of starting late the work of revival of Buddhism in 
India. But even then I hope and believe that my people who, 
sacrificing their own comforts, have been faithfully following 
me. I hope and I trust they will continue to struggle sincerely 
to propagate the Buddha Dhamma in India .” 1 


• • 


1 : Prabuddha Bharat : dated 17th Nov. 1956. Translated by Bhagwan Das 


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APPENDICES 


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BLANK 


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APPENDIX— I 

BRUTE FORCE WILL NOT SUSTAIN 
UNTOUCHABILITY 

— MAHATMA GANDHI 

This is the article that appeared in Young India regarding 
the Mahad Satyagraha. 

“UNTOUCHABILITY AND UNREASON 

A correspondent from Mahad writes : 

It gives me much sorrow to let you know that there was riot 
on the 20th of March last between touchables and Untouchables 
at Mahad. There was held a conference of the Colaba District 
Depressed Classes on the 19th and 20th ultimo. The meeting 
was quite successful. But whilst the crowd was dispersing, 
Mr. A. V. Chitre of the Social Service League of Bombay told 
the people as they were thirsty and as the sun was very hot 
that they could go to the public tank and drink water. There 
were some who tried to dissuade the men from going to the 
tank. But Dr. Ambedkar, the President decided to march 
the men to the tank. Even the police inspector could not feel 
the gravity of the situation, and instead of stopping the crowd 
from proceeding to the tank, went with them. The tank is 
situated in the midst of the Brahmin locality. As however no 
one was aware that the Untouchables were going to the tank 
there was no disturbance, and hundreds of them quenched 
their thirst at the tank with cries of “Hara Hara Mahadev”. 
Meanwhile the touchables came to the scene and they watched 
the incident with rage. The crowd of Untouchables then went 
back to the pandal for their meals. Within an hour of this 
the Mahad public was suddenly awakened by the wild cry 
of Gurava and they were told that the Untouchables were 
thinking of entering the temple of Vireshwar. 

It was a false cry; but in no time the temple was filled 
by an infuriated mob of touchables who had sticks in their 
hands. The poor Untouchables had no intention whatsoever 
of going to the temple. But the touchables finding no 


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454 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

Untouchable attempting to enter the temple practically 
ran amuck, went to the bazar and began to beat any 
Untouchable they came across in the street. All the while 
this beating was going on the part of the touchables, not 
one Untouchable offered any resistance. A few touchables 
who sympathized with the Untouchables tried to protect 
them; but the furious mob would not be checked. They 
even rushed into the huts of shoe-makers and such others 
and beat them severely. The helpless Untouchables ran 
wildly for help; but none was offered by the shopkeepers. 
The Untouchables who were in the pandal were derided 
by the touchables for not coming out in the open to fight. 
There were nearly 1,500 of the former in the pandal 
and if they had offered to fight there would have been a 
great calamity and Hinduism would have been disgraced. 
Dr. Ambedkar justified the advice that he had given on the 
strength of the resolution that was passed in the Bombay 
Legislative Council and on the opinion expressed by the 
Mahad Municipality that the Untouchables were lawfully 
entitled to take water from public tanks and wells. 

Mahatma Gandhi expressed his views on 
Satyagraha and the problem of Untouchability in 
the Hindu Society, thus : 

I have omitted from the correspondent’s letter several 
passages giving further details. But the letter appears 
to me to be genuine and does not in any way appears 
to be an over-estimate. Assuming then that the incident 
is correctly reported there can be no question about the 
unprovoked lawlessness on the part of the so-called higher 
classes. For, it should be remembered that it was not the 
drinking of water at the tank which had brought together 
the “touchables” to the temple but the false report that 
the Untouchables were wanting to enter the temple. But 
one can hardly expect sanity to exist side by side with 
unreason. Untouchability itself has no reason behind it. It 
is an inhuman institution. It is tottering and it is sought 
to be supported by the so-called orthodox party by sheer 
brute force. 


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BRUTE FORCE UNTOUCH ABILITY 455 

The so-called Untouchables have brought the question a 
step nearer solution by their exemplary self-restraint under 
most provoking circumstances. Had they retaliated it would 
have been perhaps difficult to distribute the blame. As it is, 
the blame is all on the side of the “touchables.” Brute force 
will not sustain Untouchability. It will bring about a revulsion 
of feeling in favour of the suppressed classes. It is a sign of 
the times that there were at least some “touchables” who tried 
to defend the poor Untouchables. One could wish that there 
were many more in Mahad. Silent sympathy on such occasions 
is not of much use. Every Hindu, who considers the removal 
of Untouchability to be of paramount importance, should on 
such occasions prove his sympathy by publicly defending the 
supressed classes and having his own head broken in defending 
the helpless and the downtrodden. 

I cannot help thinking that Dr. Ambedkar was fully justified 
in putting to test the resolutions of the Bombay Legislative 
Council and the Mahad Municipality by advising the so-called 
Untouchables to go to the tank to quench their thirst. No 
incident of this character should pass by unnoticed on the 
part of associations like the Hindu Mahasabha interested in 
this reform. Let them investigate the statements made by 
my correspondent and if they can be substantiated, let them 
condemn the action of the “touchables.” There is nothing 
like the growth of enlightened public opinion for eradicating 
everything evil, which Untouchability undoubtedly is.” 


• • 


1 : Young India, dated 28th April 1927. 

Reprinted, Ganvir, Mahad Samata Sangar. Pp. 246-248. 


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APPENDIX— II 
MAN’S INHUMANITY TO MAN 
(By M. K. Gandhi) 

“In another column will be seen an extract from 
Navajivan of a most disgraceful case of calculated 
inhumanity of a medical man towards the dying wife of a 
member of the suppressed class in a Kathiawad village. 
Sjt. Amritlal Thakkar who is responsible for giving the 
details of the case has withheld the names of the place and 
parties for fear of the poor suppressed class school-master 
being further molested by the medical man. I wish however, 
that the names will be disclosed. Time must come when 
the suppressed class people will have to be encouraged by 
us to dare to suffer further hardships and tyranny. Their 
sufferings are already too great for any further sufferings 
to be really felt. Public opinion cannot be roused over 
grievances that cannot be verified and traced to their 
sources. I do not know the rules of the Medical Council in 
Bombay. I know that in other places a medical practitioner, 
who refused to attend before his fees were paid, would be 
answerable to the Council and would be liable to have his 
name removed from the Council’s list and be otherwise 
subject to disciplinary action. Fees are no doubt exactable; 
but proper attendance upon patients is the first duty of a 
medical practitioner. The real inhumanity, however, if the 
facts stated are true, consists in the practitioner refusing 
to enter the Untouchable’s quarters, refusing himself to see 
the patient, and refusing himself to apply the thermometer. 
And if the doctrine of Untouchability can ever be applied in 
any circumstances, it is certainly applicable to this member 
of the profession which he has disgraced. But I am hoping 
that there is some exaggeration in the statement made by 
Sjt. Thakkar’s correspondent and, if there is none, that 
the medical practitioner will himself come forth and make 
ample amends to the society which he has so outraged by 
his inhuman conduct. 


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MAN’S INHUMANITY TO MAN 457 

READ, REFLECT AND WEEP 

There is a school for the children of the suppressed classes 
in a village in Kathiawad. The teacher is a cultured, patriotic 
man belonging to the Dhedh or Weaver (Untouchable) class. 
He owes his education to the compulsory education policy of 
His Highness the Gayakwad and had been doing his little bit 
for the amelioration of his community. He is a man of cleanly 
habits and refined manners, so that no one can recognise him 
as belonging to the Untouchable class. But because he had 
the fortune or misfortune of teaching the children of his own 
community in a conservative village in Kathiawad, everyone 
regards him as an Untouchable. But unmindful of that he 
had been silently working away. There are some moments, 
however, when the most patient man living under intolerable 
conditions may give vent to agony and indignation, which 
are evident in the following letters from the schoolmaster. 
Every little sentence in it is surcharged with pathos. ‘I have 
purposely omitted the names of the village and all the people 
mentioned in the letter, lest the schoolmaster should come 
into further trouble.” 

Namaskar. My wife delivered a child on the 5th instant. 
On the 7th she was taken ill, had motions, lost her speech, 
had hard breathing and swelling on the chest, and her ribs 
were aching painfully. I want to call in doctor but he said, 
T will not come to the Untouchable’s quarters. I will not 
examine her either.’ Then I approached the Nagarsheth, and 
the Garrsia Durbar, and requested them to use their good 
offices for me. They came and on the Nagarsheth standing 
surety for me for the payment of Rs. 2 as the doctor’s fee, and 
on condition that the patient would be brought outside the 
Untouchable’s quarters, he consented to come. He came, we 
took out the woman who had a baby only two days old. Then 
the doctor gave his thermometer to a Musalman who gave 
it to me. I applied the thermometer and then returned it to 
the Musalman who gave it to the doctor. It was about eight 
O’clock, and having inspected the thermometer in the light of 
a lamp, he said : ‘She has pneumonia and suffocation’. After 
this the doctor left and sent medicine. I got linseed from the 
market and we are applying linseed poultice and giving her the 


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458 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

medicine. The doctor would not condescend to examine her, 
simply looked at her from a distance. Of course I gave Rs. 2 
for his fee. It is a serious illness. Everything is in His hands ! 

The light in my life has gone out. She passed away at 
2 O’clock this afternoon. 


II 

Comment is needless. What shall one say about the 
inhumanity of the doctor who being an educated man refused 
to apply the thermometer except through the medium of a 
Musalman to purify it, and who treated an ailing woman 
lying in for two days worse than a dog or a cat ? What shall 
one say of the society that tolerates this inhumanity ? One 
can but reflect and weep. 

A. V. Thakkar, 

• • 


Young India, dated 5th May 1927. 


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APPENDIX— III 

“ORTHODOXY RUN MAD 

Alleged Barbarous Treatment of “Untouchable” 
Crime of Being Mahars 

Mr. Keshavaji Ranchhodji Vaghela from Ahmedabad has 
informed Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, President, Bahishkrit Hitkarini 
Sabha as follows : 

One Bapoorao Laxman and his brother Kaurao have been 
residents of Ahmedabad during the last six years. They used to 
mix with some people from the Deccan belonging to Maratha 
Caste. Kaurao’s two sons viz. Damoo and Laxman used to 
take part in the Bhajan parties of the Marathas. The latter, 
however, recently came to know that the brothers Damoo 
and Laxman were Mahars by caste and in order to ascertain 
this, two Mahars employed on the parcel train between Surat 
and Ahmedabad were specially called to identify Damoo and 
Laxman. After it was ascertained, they were called at a 
Bhajan party at Kalupur, Bhanderi Pole, at midnight on the 
11th instant. Asked as to what caste they belonged to, Damoo 
and Laxman replied that they were Somvanshis. This reply 
enraged the Marathas who freely abused them for having 
defiled their persons and places. The Mahar brothers were 
also assaulted by the Maratha. One of the brothers had a 
gold ring on his person. It was forcibly taken away from him 
and sold for Rs. 11. Out of this amount Rs. 6 was paid to 
the Mahars who had been called from Surat to identify the 
brothers. Damoo and Laxman entreated the Marathas to allow 
them to return to their homes, but the latter refused to do 
so unless a fine Rs. 500 was paid. On the Mahar brothers 
pleading their inability to pay such a heavy sum, one of the 
Marathas suggested that the Mahar brothers should be fined 
only Rs. 125. But then one of the Marathas opposed the 
proposal for fine saying that they should not be satisfied with 
fine, but should punish the Mahars severely for their crime 
of concealing their caste. Having decided upon the course, 
the Mahar brothers were detained and at about 9 O’clock in 
the morning they were subjected to barbarous indignities. 
Their mustaches in the left side and eyebrows on the 


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460 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

right side were shaved, their bodies besmeared with soot 
mixed in oil and also with dirt, garlands made of old shoes 
were put around their necks, and one of them was asked to 
hold a broom in his hand and the other to hold a placard on 
which it was written that the punishment was metted out 
to the culprits for venturing to touch high caste people. The 
Mahar Brothers were taken in procession consisting of about 
75 people, a drum being beaten in the front. 

A complaint has been lodged with the Police by the said 
two Mahar brothers. The accused in their statement have 
admitted that Damoo and Laxman were treated in the alleged 
manner, but pleaded that the complainants had willingly 
agreed to undergo the punishment. Obviously Damoo and 
Laxman were helpless when they were abused, assaulted and 
threatened with severe punishment and actually subjected to 
barbarous indignities. This case has created a great sensation 
among the people belonging to the so-called Untouchable 
castes and efforts are being made to give proper legal aid to 
the complainants.” 1 

• • 


J : The Bombay Chronicle, dated 25th February 1928. 


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APPENDIX— IV 

GANDHI-VALLABHBHA1 MEETING ON EVE OF 

POONA-PACT 

On September 6,1932 in Yervada Jail the discussion 
proceeded on these lines : 


“Vallabhbhai Patel : 

What do you think will these people 
(British Government) do ? 

Gandhiji : 

I still feel that they will release me on 
or before 19th. It will be the limit of 
wickedness if they let me fast, let no 
one know about it and then say that 
I did what I as a prisoner ought not 
to have done, and that they could do 
nothing about it. I do not say that they 
cannot go that far, only then they will 
find it necessary. And they certainly 
are not the people to go farther than 
it is necessary. 

V. Patel 

Then what will you do ? 

Gandhiji : 

The fast cannot commence on 20th. 
We cannot stick to the 20th.” 

V. Patel 

Does it mean then that we have 
got time till the new Constitution is 
drawn up ? or that you can give a 
longer notice to the people and the 
Government ? 

Gandhiji : 

Yes, but that depends on how much 
the people will allow me to do after I 
get out. I cannot tell what the situation 
will be. I may have no idea of the kind 
of letter I may have to write. But I 
shall have to consider every party — 
the Hindu Society, the Antyajas, the 
Government, the Muslims. It will 
be necessary for the Hindus to hold 
meetings along with the Antyajas at 
every place and reject this thing. The 


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462 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 



Government has done this thing as a 
Christian Government and hence I shall 
have to tell both the Government and 
the Christians the same thing that as 
Christians they cannot do this thing. Let 
our Swaraj come into being, then they 
may influence the Antyajas in any way 
they like, but they should not divide us 
today. I had said this to the Muslims even 
in England. I shall say the same thing 
here also. I shall explain to the Hindu 
Society that now the Antyajas have no 
choice but to turn Muslims or Christians. 

Mahadev Desai : 

Among the people who will come also be 
the Christian friends and they will say to 
you that before accusing the Government, 
you should accuse your self. Why does 
Hindu society regard the Antyajas as 
Untouchables ? 

Gandhiji : 

That is upto me to explain. That is not 
difficult thing. We can say to them : 
“Allow us to settle our problems ourselves, 
why do you interfere ? After we have set 
about managing our own affairs, you may 
do what you like. Why do you divide us 
and then argue over things ? To-day the 
Antyajas have either to turn to Muslims 
or to you. The question of women is 
similar to that of Antyajas. But women 
are not Untouchables. Even if they wish 
to become Untouchables, men will go 
and sit on their beds. They cannot be 
separated from even by having a separate 
electorate. To-day the Antyajas have been 
separated permanently. What would be 
the outcome of it ? There 


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GANDHI POONA-PACT 463 

would be internal strife. There are people 
like ... He would collect bad characters in 
the community and get them to attack 
Hindus, poison wells and do other things.” 1 

Bapuji wrote a letter to H. S. L., Polak in which he gave 
clear account of the circumstances leading to the fast. This 
is what he wrote : 

‘You seemed to have missed the very core of the fast. You 
have to go back to my speech at the Minorities Committee. 
It was not a prepared speech. The end of it came irresistibly. 
The fast was an inevitable result of that solemn declaration. I 
little knew how that declaration was to find fulfilment. I say 
that the declaration was from God and so was the fulfilment. 
If it was so, all argument is useless. If it was a hallucination, 
friends who believe it to be such are bound to drive home 
the truth to me with all the love and persistence they can 
summon to their assistance. 

“Everything that happened since confirms me in the opinion 
that the fast was a God-given trust. Not the Premier but Sir 
Samuel Hoare through whom the message of the fast had 
necessarily to go. But if you had followed all the statements 
I have made and even my letter to the Premier you would 
have seen that the fast was addressed to the millions who had 
faith in me, and who had surrounded me with their undying 
affection whenever I went to their midst. They understood 
the fast with all its implications without any argument. For 
them, the political part of it was trivial; internal reform was 
everthing. 

‘You ask why it was not administered ten years ago. The 
answer is; God did not call me to. He comes to wake you up 
when you least expect him. His ways are not our ways. You 
will, of course, believe me when I say that I had then the 
same capacity for sacrifices that I seem to have now .” 2 

1 : Government of India, The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, 
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, New Delhi, Vol. 11, Pp. 457-458. 

2 : ibid, volume LI, Pp. 252-253. 

All the above reprinted, Busi Dr ; Pp. 188-190. 


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APPENDIX— V 

COMMENTS ON ROUND TABLE CONFERENCE 
AND POONA PACT 

1 

Joint Select Committee of Parliament: 

“Communal Award And Poona Pact” 

The Committee are definite in their opinion that communal 
representation is inevitable at the present time. They describe 
as well-thought out and well-balanced the arrangement for 
the composition of Provincial Assemblies embodied in the 
Communal Award. 

As regards the Poona Pact, the Committee express the view 
that in their opinion the original proposals of His Majesty’s 
Goverment were a more equitable settlement of the general 
communal question, and more advantageous to the Depressed 
Classes in their present stage of development. But, since 
the Pact has been accepted as an authoritative modification 
of the Award, the Committee are clear that it cannot now 
be rejected. They are however, disposed to think that if by 
agreement some reduction were made in the number of seats 
reserved for the Depressed Classes in Bengal, possibly with a 
compensatory increase in the number of their seats in other 
Provinces, the working of the new Constittuion in Bengal 
would be facilitated.” (A Summary of the Report of the Joint 
Select Committee of Parliament on the proposals contained 
in the White Paper on Indian Constitutional Reforms, page 
4, dated 22nd November, 1934.) 1 

2 

Joachim Aiwa stated in his book “Men and 
Supermen of Hindustan” : 

“He (Dr. B. R. Ambedkar) just became bold and literally 
adopted Spencer’s maxim ‘Be bolde ! be bolde and ever more 
be bolde !’ He learnt that by daring and reckless courage, great 
fears & weaknesses are removed. He was most powerfully 


1 : Reprinted, Khairmode, Vol. 5. Pp. 65-66. 


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COMMENTS ON POONA-PACT 465 

tempered and pampered with undue attentions. Mahatma 
Gandhi had also an unparalleled record of service on behalf 
of the Depressed Classes whom he chose to be respectfully 
addressed as ‘Harijans.’ But the Doctor would brook no rivals. 
He would not tolerate no one else occupying the pedestal. 
Being the product of abnormal social and economic conditions 
in which Indian Society had abysmally let itself down, Dr. 
Ambedkar deliberately cultivated an abnormal individuality. 
(Men & Supermen of Hindustan, page 20). 

‘Dr. Ambedkar’s request to Ramsay MacDonald to settle 
the Communal ratios in the Legislature led to his discomfiture 
in the life of the turbulent politician, The Doctor cried at the 
gate of the Yeravada Jail — 

I trust that I will not be driven to the necessity of making 
a choice between Gandhi’s life and the rights of my people. 
I can never consent to deliver my people bound hand and 
foot, to the Hindus for generations. I don’t care even if a 
hundred Mahatmas are sacrificed. Mahatmas are not immortal 
creatures. You are all free to hang me from the nearest lamp- 

post The Mahatma declared to the Doctor T am proud 

of you. I have always listened to your speeches breathlessly.’ 
(Men & Supermen of Hindustan, P. 22)” 1 

3 

An Author Writing Under Pen-Name 

A Student of Public Affairs, in his book “Has Congress 
Failed? ” expressed his views as under: “Not even his 
most ardent supporters will claim that Mr. Gandhi’s 
participation in that Conference was a success. Communal 
differences were holding up progress on all sides and the 
Minorities Sub-Committee finally was obliged to report 
failure to reach a settlement. Mr. Gandhi consistently 
refused to consider any proposal for separate electorates for 
any community except the Mohammedans, the Sikhs and 
the Europeans, and as regards the Depressed Classes he 
insisted that they were Hindus and must be kept within 


1 : Reprinted, Khairmode, Vol. 4. Pp. 168-169. 


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466 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

the Hindu fold. Dr. Ambedkar was led by this unyielding 
attitude into a definite demand for separate electorates for 
the Depressed Classes.” — P. 55) 1 

4 

Dr. M. R. Jaikar stated in his Autobiography that : 

“ ... his (Mahatma) attitude at the Indian Round Table 
Conference in England drove the minorities to adopt the 
notorious Minorities Pact. He denied to the Depressed Classes 
even a single seat by reservation except through the medium 
of the Congress. Later he fasted in India against Prime 
Minister MacDonald’s award comparatively a more blanced 
arrangement than the later, “Poona Pact” which had to be 
accepted at the point of the bayonet as it were. The effect of 
this pact was deeply deplored in Bengal by leaders who had 
been Gandhiji’s loyal followers before.” (The Story of My Life, 
Vol. One, Pp. 361-62) ” 2 

5 

On the occasion of the Birth day of Pandit Jawaharlal 
Nehru, the book entitled “A Bunch of Old Letters” was 
published. The book includes a letter by Mr. Edward Thompson 
who wrote it on 6th December 1936, wherein he stated, 

“I never thought Gandhi wrong until the Round Table 
Conference, when he was both arrogant and irrelevent. 
Perhaps he should not have come at all. But having come, 
he was unjustified in refusing to regard the other Indians, 
many of the men who had paid a price for their opinions, as 
men entitled to be consulted by him and regarded as friends 
engaged in a common endeavour and hope.” (P. 208)” 3 

6 

Mr. Glorne Bolten stated in his book ‘The Tragedy of 
Gandhi’ : 

“The truth is that Mr. Gandhi was lost in London, and the 
old assurance and reliance was deserting him. Day after day-in 
the Conference which he had come to detest-he faced the 


1 : Khairmode, Vol. 4 P. 173. 

2 : ibid, P. 173. 

3 : ibid, Pp. 173-174. 


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Mohammedan delegates who would yield none of their demands. 
Day after day Dr. Ambedkar came into greater prominence. He 
spoke for the ‘Untouchables’ and every speech on the welfare of 
India whether from a Conservative or a Socialist-would contain 
references to the tragic flight of the ‘Untouchables’. It was a 
sentimental rather than a practical concern. Mr. Gandhi, by 
representing the Untouchables, would have drawn eulogies 
from almost every one in England-but now Dr. Ambedkar had 
destroyed this platform. He so opposed the Mahatma that the 
public began to believe that two personalities dominated the 
Conference, Mr. Gandhi and Dr. Ambedkar. Nothing could have 
been further from the truth. To begin with, Mr. Gandhi was 
not dominating the Conference nearly enough. He spoke over 
after Sir Samuel Hoare, when he came to like more and more, 
had spoken in favour of indirect election. Mr. Gandhi agreed 
with him entirely and he proceeded to elaborate his Panchayat 
Scheme whereby villages elect their representatives, a group 
of village-representatives elect their district representative and 
a group of district-representatives elect the representative for 
legislature. It is a system which while weakening Conservative 
fear, meets the Congress demand for adult suffrage. Indian 
Liberal delegates were warm in their approval. “Within a 
week,” one of them said, “Gandhi will have the Conservatives 
at his feet.” He never spoke in this fashion again, instead there 
was a wrangle with Dr. Ambedkar. At first Mohammedans 
seemed to enjoy the Mahatma’s discomfiture, but in time 
every delegate was wishing that Dr. Ambedkar would show 
Mr. Gandhi the courtesy to which his personal eminence 
certainly entitled him.” 

(The Tragedy of Gandhi, pages 266-267) 

“Henceforward Bow and Knights bridge were not to be 
the only centres for Conference plotting. Representative 
Mohammedans, Europeans, Anglo-Indians, Untouchables met 
together. In a very short period of time they had drawn up a 
Minorities Pact to which representatives of the Minorities with 
the notable exception of the Sikh leader, Sardar Ujjwal Singh, 
appended his signature. Mr. Benthall sent Mr. Gandhi a copy of 
the pact and a courteous, if rather buoyant explanatory letter. 
Dr. Ambedkar met Mr. Gandhi’s gaze at St. James with an 
almost defiant smile. There were but two obvious courses open to 


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Mr. Gandhi. One was to accept the division of the Minorities 
with whatever grace he could. The other was to rally the 
great Hindu majority to his side to speak not as the sole 
representative of Congress but as the spokesman of all the 
Hindus, the orthodox Hindu Mahasabha included. Mr. Gandhi’s 
eyes trenched swiftly down the clauses of the Pact. He saw 
at once that the Pact indicated the truculent attitude which 
Dr. Ambedkar had adopted, for separate electorates were 
generously bestowed upon the Untouchables. Obvious courses 
were not for Mr. Gandhi. If hitherto he had been uncertain of 
his mission in London he knew now that it was his duty to do. 
He would save the Untouchables from their leader. He called 
Sir Samuel Hoare. He even called Mr. Ramsay MacDonald by 
whom he was impressed, with the vehemence of his views. 

Mr. Gandhi would speak of nothing else. “Separate 
Electorates to the Untouchables” he declared in a speech, 
“will ensure them bondage in perpetuity. The Musalmans will 
never cease to be Musalmans by having Separate Electorates. 
Do you want the ‘Untouchables’ to remain ‘Untouchables’ for 
ever ? And however lightly the Indian Liberal may regard 
Mr. Gandhi’s views on Federation, he has a healthy respect 
for his views on minorities. A Minorities Pact falls short of a 
general agreement and because it provided the hostility of the 
orthodox Hindus and the Sikhs more particularly because it 
roused the anger of Mr. Gandhi. The Pact died the day it was 
born. Its demise was promptly acknowledged by the British 
and Indian delegates alike. The Communal settlement, as 
everyone now admitted, would have to be impressed by the 
British Government. 

(The Tragedy of Gandhi, Pp. 277 — 278) ” 1 

7 

Dhananjay Keer, biographer said, 

“The Poona Pact thus vibrated the whole country and had 
repercussions throughout the world. It proved once more that 
Dr. Ambedkar whom in pre-Poona pact days the Congress leaders 
and the press refused to recognise as the leader of the Depressed 


1 : Khairmode, Vol. 4, Pp. 170 — 172. 


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Classes, came out as the accredited leader of the Depressed 
Classes all over India. In the new arrangement both the 
sides had to lose something. The Caste Hindus had to grant 
148 seats instead of 71. The Depressed Classes lost their 
chance of bending the Caste Hindu leaders to their will as 
the Depressed Classes were under the Award entitled to elect 
their own representatives to the Assemblies separately, and 
besides they were to vote in general constituencies with the 
Caste Hindus in electing the Caste Hindu representatives. Now 
the Caste Hindus got the power to elect the representatives 
of the Depressed Classes. By a resolution at its Delhi Session 
on September 26, the Hindu Mahasabha also ratified it. 

The third thing that was proved was that whenever the 
Mahatma in Gandhi got the upper hand of the politician in 
Gandhi, he performed the marvel of making simple things 
complex and complicated ! At the Round Table Conference 
the Mahatma in Gandhi dominated the politician in him; and 
the Mahatma shook the world, but the politician failed. At 
Yeravda the politician in Gandhi became successful and the 
Mahatma was defeated ! So effective and crushing was the 
victory of Gandhi that he deprived Dr. Ambedkar of all the 
life-saving weapons and made him a powerless man as did 
Indra in the case of Kama. Dr. Ambedkar was justified in 
saying that had Gandhi shown enough resilience at the Round 
Table Conference in the matter of the problem of the Depressed 
Classes, the Mahatma would not have been required to go 
through the ordeal. The ordeal was of Gandhi’s own making. 

The Poona Pact closed an epoch. But did the war, which 
had been declared at Manibhuvan on August 14, 1931,* come 
to an end ? Or was it a second battle and the war was to 
continue even after the truce ?” * 1 


• • 


* See Pp. 51-56 of this part-Editors. 

1 :Keer, Pp. 215-16. 


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APPENDIX— VI 

DR. AMBEDKAR IS NOW PUTTING MR. GANDHI 
TO AN ACID TEST 

This is the letter from one the readers of The 
Times of India, which was published in The 

Times of India regarding temple entry campaign 

“DR. AMBEDKAR’S BOMB 
Test For Mr. Gandhi 

To the Editor of “The Times of India ” 

Sir, 

Your Poona correspondent is quite right. Dr. Ambedkar 
has thrown a “live bomb into the centre of the temple entry 
campaign machinery.” It is something much more than that. 
It is a bomb (a country made one) dropped into the Congress 
Camp. We must never forget that Congress is almost dead, 
and this temple-entry campaign is simply an interesting effort 
to put life into a corpse. From the outset, Dr. Ambedkar has 
warned us that this whirlwind propaganda by Mr. Gandhi and 
his Congress was at bottom only a “political stunt”. He is now 
putting Mr. Gandhi to an acid test. There are two questions 
before us (1) Is the Mahatma serious about this temple entry 
questions, or is it a mere gesture ? (2) Would the opening of 
temples alone raise the status of the Depressed Classes ? That 
Mr. Gandhi is not really serious about the question of temple 
entry is proved from his own confession that “he never enters 
these temples himself’. Indeed, Mr. M. K. Acharya, the great 
orthodox Hindu leader, reminded us last week in a speech 
at Surat that: Mr. Gandhi himself had never worshipped in 
any temple and he knew very little of the principles of rules 
and regulations of temple worship.” All orthodox Hindus like 
Mr. Acharya, who have faithfully supported Mr. Gandhi for 
20 years, have now forsaken him and Congress. 

Mr. Acharya has issued a challenge to Mr. Gandhi ; 
“Why does not Mr. Gandhi found temples of his own and 
see if all Hindus, including Untouchbles, will go and worship 
in them?” No one can say that Mr. Gandhi lacks moral 


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DR. AMBEDKAR ACID TEST 471 

courage. But he cannot accept Mr. Acharya’s challenge because 
the Mahatma is an astute politician. And this is a question 
of political strategy and not a purely religious question. 
Mr. Acharya forgets that the Mahatma has often told us : 
“Most religious men I have met are politicians in disguise. 
I, however, who wear the guise of a politician, am at heart 
a religious man. My religion is my politics (Autobiography). 
He has always subordinated religion and principle to policy 
and politics. It is impossible to exaggerate the injury he has 
inflicted upon his country in general and upon Hinduism in 
particular. Look at the Poona Pact, entered into in haste ; 
there is now a countrywide feeling that it was grossly unfair 
to Caste Hindus. Mr. Gandhi stampeded the country into 
an unjust settlement. He is now again trying to stampede 
the country to do something for Harijans which they do not 
really want.” 

• • 


J : Source Material, Vol. 1 Pp. 107-108. 


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APPENDIX -VII 

DR. AMBEDKAR WANTED AN EXTENSION 
IN AMERICA 

Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar January 16, 1915 

35. Vide paragraph 1103 of 1913 — S. B.,* Bombay, January 
1 6th — The Censor writes : The following letter passed through from 
Minister of Education, Baroda. d/o No. 509, dated 8th January 
1915, to B.R. Ambedkar. Esquire B. A., 554 West 114th Street, 
New York : — 

“Inform him that ‘proposals will be submitted to His Highness 
the Maharaja Saheb to grant you an extension in continuation 
of the one already sanctioned,’ and that the result will be 
communicated.” 

Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar January 30, 1915 

81. Vide paragraph 35 Baroda, January 25th — The Assistant 
Resident writes : “Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar is a Parwari **a 
resident of Bombay who was sent by the Gaekwad to America 
to study Finance and Sociology. He figures in the Baroda Service 
List as a Military Probationer, but has done no military training 
and was apparently appointed in order to draw pay. He was sent 
to America in June 1913 and it is believed that he is still there. 
A certificate of identity was given to him.” 

Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar February 13, 1915 

107. Vide paragraph 81 Bombay, February 8th — Bhimrao Ramji 
Ambedkar is a Mahar by caste, native of Ambed, Taluka Dapoli, 
District Ratnagiri. He is a graduate of the Bombay University 
having passed his B. A. Examination from the Elphinstone College. 
He then joined the Baroda State Service and in 1913 was sent to 
America by the Baroda State to study Economics. He left Bombay 
per S. S. Sardegna on the 15th June 1913. 

It appears that Ambedkar had asked for an extension of his 
stay in America for two years more within which time he expects 
to finish his studies. 

• • 


*Abbreviations : S. B. — Special Branch. 

** For the meaning of the word ‘Parwari’ see article by Dr. B. R. 
Ambedkar under the title ‘The Mahar : who were they and how they became 
the Untouchables.’ on Pp. 137 — 150 in Part II of this Volume. — Editors. 


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APPENDIX -VIII 

FOR THE PRESENT DR. AMBEDKAR MUST 
WORK AS A PROBATIONER IN ACCOUNTS 
DEPARTMENT 

LETTER FROM GOVERNMENT OF BARODA 

“Government of Baroda, 

No. 744 

Huzur Cutchery 

Baroda, 7th June 1918. 

My dear Sir Narayanrao, 

In reply to your letter of the 5th ultimo, enclosing 
Mr. Ambedkar’s, I write this to say that the papers were 
submitted to His Highness the Maharaja Sahab and he has 
been pleased to order that Mr. Ambedkar should join Baroda 
service on the salary that was agreed to be given to him 
when he left for America. If that is inadequate, his request 
for improved salary will be considered after a while. For 
the present. In view of his conduct which His Highness is 
constrained to remark has not proved worthy of his education 
or trust reposed in him. His Highness is not disposed to give 
him more liberal terms. His Highness has always been taking 
a (good) deal of interest in the welfare of Mr. Ambedkar’s 
community and has spent large sums of money on Mr. 
Ambedkar himself. Could not be under these circumstances 
have set an example of probability and straight-forwardness 
even at some loss and discomfort to himself, particularly 
when he was promised better prospects in course of time ? 

As regards his request for professional work in the 
College, His Highness will consider the question when there 
is a vacancy provided he is found fit for those duties. For 
the present, he must work as a Probationer in the Accounts 
Department. 

Since Mr. Ambedkar is not in a position to furnish 
requisite security for repayment of the money spent 
over his education in the event of his relinquishing 
service, he will have to submit for a period of 5 years 
to a deduction of 15 p.c. of his pay which will be 


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474 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

kept as deposit under the rules with the liability of forfeiture, 
if he left service again. But as a special case, His Highness 
has ordered that so long as this deduction reduction reduces 
his emoluments to less than the contracted initial salary, he 
may be given a proportionate increase from the date of his 
joining. 

Lastly, as a special case the Maharaja Sahab has permitted 
Mr. Ambedkar to stay in the Guest House for the present and 
has asked for plan Estimates at an early date for a house to 
be built for him. 


Your Sincerly, 
Manubhai Mehta. 

Sir H. G. Chanda warkar, 

Redder (Peddar) Road, 

Malabar Hill, Bombay .” 1 


• • 


1 : Rattu : Little known facts of Dr. Ambedkar, Pp. 230-231. 


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APPENDIX -IX 

TAKE EARLY ACTION TO REPAY YOUR DEBT 

“K. E. D. S.F. No. 43 No. 8088 of 1919-20 

TELEGRAPHIC ADDRESS Office of the Educational 

Commissioner, 

“EDUCATION, BARODA”. Baroda, 13th/14th May 1920 
From 

A. B. Clarke, esquire, B. A. (Cantab), 

The Educational Commissioner, 

Baroda State, Baroda. 

To, 

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, 

The Sydenham College of 
Commerce and Economics, Bombay. 

Subject: Repayment of debts. 

Sir, I have the honour to invite your attention to my 
letter No. 4675, dated 24th January 1920* and a subsequent 
reminder No. 6121, dated 18th March 1920* on the subject 
quoted above and to request that you will be good enough to 
expedite the matter and to take early action to repay your 
debt to the State. 

I have the honour to be. 
Sir, 

Your most obedient servant, 
A. B. Clarke. 

Commissioner of Education, 

Baroda State” * 1 

• • 


*Letter not available — Editors. 

1 : Rattu : Little known facts of Dr. Ambedkar, P. 232. 


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APPENDIX - X 

REACTIONS ON THE STATEMENT DATED 
19-6-1936 ISSUED BY DR. B. R. AMBEDKAR 
ON CONVERSION 

I 

Dr. Moonje’s Letter to Mr. Rajah 

Dr. Moonje wrote the following letter dated. New Delhi 
30th June 1936 to Rao Bahadur M. C. Rajah : — 

“Dear Sir, 

On urgent calls from Bombay friends and also from 
Shreeman Seth Jugal Kishore Birla with the concurrence 
of Dr. Ambedkar, I had occasion to go to Bombay on the 
18th instant. There Dr. Ambedkar had long conversations 
with me for three days. Eventually a fomula for amicable 
settlement of his revolt against Hinduism was drafted. 
Dr. Ambedkar entirely agrees with it. 

The formula is as follows : — 

“If Dr. Ambedkar were to announce his decision that he and 
his followers are prepared to embrace Sikhism in preference to 
Islam and Christianity and that he shall honestly and sincerely 
co-operate with the Hindus and the Sikhs in propagating 
their culture and in counteracting the Muslim movement for 
drawing the Depressed Classes into the Muslim fold, the Hindu 
Mahasabha will be prepared, in view of their having agreed to 
remain within the Hindu Culture, to make an announcement 
that it will not object: — 

(1) To the conversion of the Depressed Classes to Sikhism; 

(2) To the inclusion of the Neo-Sikhs in the list of the 
Scheduled Castes; and 

(3) To the enjoyment by the Depressed Classes of the 
political rights of the Poona Pact by free competition between 
the Non-Sikhs and the Neo-Sikh Depressed Classes as 
provided for under the Poona Pact.” 


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REACTIONS ON CONVERSION 477 

From Bombay I have come here just this morning for 
consultation on it with friends before formally putting it before 
the Hindu Mahasabha for its consideration. I am trying to 
see Pandit Malaviyaji and if possible also H. H. the Maharaja 
of Patiala. It is a very delicate matter. I have, therefore, to 
request you to kindly think over it and let me have your 
opinion in the matter. Until we decide one way or the other, 
the matter will be kept strictly private and confidential. 

Awaiting your reply. 

Yours Sincerly, 
(Sd./— ) B. S. Moonje. 

P. S. — “I am enclosing also a copy of the statement of his 
case handed over to me by Dr. Ambedkar for your perusal. 
Please let me have your reply to my Nagpur address .” 1 

II 

“Mr, Rajah’s Reply to Dr. Moonje 

I have already expressed my view about Dr. Ambedkar’s 
proposal that the Depressed Classes should give up Hinduism 
and embrace some other religion. I make a distinction between 
conversion — which is a spiritual change and migration from 
one community to another for social, economic and political 
reasons. 

Dear Dr. Moonje, you will excuse my saying that you 
view the whole problem of Depressed Classes, in view of 
Dr. Ambedkar’s proposal, as one of the communal migration 
and not as a religious problem. One would expect the 
President of the Hindu Mahasabha to view it as a religious 
problem and not merely as a political problem, without 
even looking at it as a social and economic problem. One 
can understand your concern if as President of the Hindu 
Mahasabha you placed the spiritual welfare of the Depressed 
Classes first and foremost and thought of the social and 
economic welfare next and lastly thought of them as a 
political factor. Your solicitude for the place of the Depressed 
Classes in the political scheme not only exposes the interested 


1 : The Bombay Chronicle, dated 8th August 1936. 


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478 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

nature of your concern for these classes, but is like placing 
the cart before the horse. One would expect you as President 
of the Hindu Mahasabha to ameliorate the social condition of 
the Depressed Classes by removing civic and social disabilities 
of these classes, not to speak of securing for them the right 
of worship in Hindu temples on an equal footing with other 
worshippers, and to further the Harijan movement started 
by Gandhiji all over the country. Instead of doing this, what 
is it, that you are doing ? You are dissecting the Depressed 
Classes and affiliating them religiously to the Sikhs while 
retaining them politically as Hindus. 

The whole thing seems to me not to be conceived in the 
interest of the Depressed Classes but on the other hand to 
be planned in the communal interests of the Hindus and the 
Sikhs. We are not sheep and cattle to be bartered away in this 
fashion, driven from one political fold to another as a result 
of a bargain between the leaders of different communites. 
We want to remain so solid community moving of our own 
accord in the direction of progress and this we can best do 
by not throwing away our birth rights as Hindus but by 
remaining within Hinduism and changing it so as to make 
it more comfortable not only to our communities which are 
suffering from similar liabilities, though our hardships are 
greater and more palpable. It is not our purpose to weaken 
the Hindu community but to strenghthen it by reforming 
it from within. We do not wish to be pawns in the game of 
communal conflicts and competition. 

Your proposal involves of electoral fortunes of Hindus, 
Sikhs and Muslims. If you want us to shift religion from 
the Hindu fold, we shall have to choose religion between 
the Sikhs and the Muslims who are the bidders for our 
communal migration, wrongly called conversion. Why should 
we antagonise and stand arrayed against Muslims? They are 
our brothers as much as the Sikhs and the Hindus. If the 
Depressed Classes all to become Sikhs and call themselves 
Neo-Sikhs, it will create all over the India a Sikh-Hindu- 
Muslim problem, as in the Punjab, made move complicated by 
the fact that the so-called Neo-Sikh belongs to the Depressed 
Class even among Sikhs. 


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REACTIONS ON CONVERSION 479 

This question of conversion or the communal migration 
as a move of the political chess board does not disturb us 
much in South India. We are content to work under the 
Poona Pact, partly as a separate electorate and partly with 
a joint electorate preserving our status with the Hindus both 
religiously and politically. I would therefore be no party even 
to the political manipulations which are proposed in your 
letter. I would urge the Hindu Mahasabha to address itself 
to the task of making easy for the Depressed Classes to stay 
within Hinduism and Hindu Society instead of arranging for 
the ticket for entering them to some far off destination. As 
the question you raise is likely to rouse a lot of discussion. 
I reserve to myself the right to publish my reply when the 
occasion arises. 


III 

Rajah Backed 

Mr. C. Rajagopalchari writing to Rao Bahadur Rajah 
said : — 

“I have your note and enclosures. I read through the 
Correspondence. I would not be too strong language to call the 
whole thing a diabolical proposal. I am glad, you have sent the 
correspondence to Mahatmaji. I am glad, you have replied in the 
terms you have done and summarily rejected the Idea.” 1 

IV 

RAJBHOJ REPLIES TO DR. AMBEDKAR 

Poona Pact Benefits not for Runaways from Hinduism 

“The Poona Pact does not make any provision for converts 
from Hinduism, and even if some of the Harijan community 
embraced Sikhism or any other religion in a body, it is not 
within the power of the Poona Pact signatories to retain 
for those converts any of the advantages secured under it,” 
says Mr. P. N. Rajbhoj, Harijan leader and Secretary of 
the All India Depressed Classes league, in a statement on 
Dr. Moonje’s plan. Mr. Rajbhoj adds that the Poona Pact 
was specially intended to give the utmost concession to 


1 : The Bombay Chronicle, dated 8th August 1936. 


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480 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

the members of the Depressed Classes, so that they 
remained an integral part of the Hindu-fold. There was no 
question of applying it to those that left or were leaving 
the Hindu- fold. 

Dr. Ambedkar never once raised the question of 
conversion at the time of the Pact. I think the cry is now 
raised to secure more concessions, says he. 

Logical Absurdity 

Proceeding, Mr. Rajbhoj asks if new converts from 
Hinduism are to be given the benefits derived under 
the Poona Pact why not the old converts who may for 
political, if not religious, reasons want them ? He says that 
there are large number of Depressed Classes who have 
embraced other faiths, but have not been able to throw 
off the disabilities attached to the Harijan Community, 
and mentions the case of the Christians in some parts of 
Madras. Why should concessions and benefits obtained by 
those who laboured under disadvantages and difficulties 
be given to those who did not want those disadvantages, 
but only the benefits of the labours of others. 

The Poona leader adds, “the formula is a vicious formula 
and will lead to more complications and endless trouble. It 
should not be accepted by the Hindus or by anybody. We 
are Hindus or not Hindus. If we elect to remain within 
the Hindu-fold, we are entitled to our right and privileges 
as Hindus, and once we leave the Fold, we can have no 
claim.” 

Refuting the statement that the Hindus have not made 
any sacrifice by accepting the Poona Pact, Mr. Rajbhoj says 
that instead of the 71 seats given to the Depressed Classes 
under the Communal Award, the Pact gave them 148 seats. 
Concluding Mr. Rajbhoj asserts that the conversion idea has 
no universal appeal among the Harjijan community. Even 
in Maharashtra only the Mahars favoured such a view, 
but the Chamars were solidly opposed to any conversion. 
There was no support to the idea in other provinces and 
he was surprised how the Hindu leaders were involved 
into it.” 1 


1 : The Bombay Chronicle, dated 15th August 1936. 


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v 

Mahatma Gandhi’s Views 

Mahatma Gandhi’s letter to Mr. Rajah dated 26th July 
1936:— 

‘I have no difficulty about giving general endorsement 
to your letter to Dr. Moonje. I do not at all understand 
Dr. Moonje’s or Dr. Ambedkar’s positition. For me removal of 
Untouchability stands on a footing all its own. It is to me a 
deeply religious question. The very existence of our religion 
depends on its voluntary removal by Savarna Hindu in the 
spirit of repentence. It can never be a question of barter to 
me. And I am glad you take nearly the same position that 
I do’ (The Annual Register, Vol. II, July — December 1936, 
page 276-279).” 1 

VI 

Telegram from Pandit — M. M. Malaviya, dated 30th July 
1936 to Rao Bahadur M. C. Rajah: — “Thanks for the copy of 
your letter to Dr. Moonje. I agree with you.” — A. P. 2 

VII 

The Munje — Rajah Pact 3 
Splitting Depressed Classes 

Sir, though Dr. Munje 4 and the Hindu Mahasabha have 
been unable to wipe out the blot of Untouchability from 
Hinduism and thus to make the Hindu Organisation strong 
and compact, they have succeeded in trapping a leader of 
the Depressed Classes with a view to causing a split in 
the ranks of those classes. The Munj e-Raj ah Pact is being 
boosted by the Congress and Mahasabha organs, and it is 
being represented to the gullible public that the pact is being 

1 Khairmode, Vol. 6, Pp. 191 — 193. 

2 The Bombay Chronicle — 8th August 1936. 

3 The Munje-Rajah Pact — Rao Bahadur M. C. Rajah, a Depressed 
Classes leader from Madras and Dr. B. S. Munje, President of Hindu 
Mahasabha had discussions on the basis of reserved seats and Joint 
Electorates in Delhi. They made a pact which is known as The Moonje- 
Rajah Pact. 

4 Dr. B. S. Munj e — He was President of Hindu Mahasabha, Delegate, 
Indian Round Table Conference. 


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482 DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR : WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

supported by the majority of the Depressed Class people. In 
fact, the Munj e-Raj ah Pact is being strongly denounced by 
all most all the accredited leaders and leading organisations 
of the Depressed Classes in the country. The Congress and 
Mahasabha organs have, however, made a conspiracy to 
suppress all news about the vehement opposition, the pact 
is evoking, 

It was Rao Bahadur M. C. Rajah , 1 who was strongly 
in favour of separate electorates when Dr. Ambedkar was 
advocating joint electorates and reserved seats, and it was 
through pressure from Mr. Rajah and the Depressed Class 
Organisation in the Madras Presidency, that Dr. Ambedkar 
had to set his personal views aside and to make a demand 
for separate representation at the Round Table Conference. 
He received support in his demand from Mr. Rajah, who 
in a speech only some weeks back gave his opinion that 
the salvation of the Depressed Classes lay only in Separate 
Electorates. His latest somersault was a surprise to all. He 
entered in to a Pact for joint electorates and reserved seats 
with the leader of Hindu Mahasabha without consulting 
the other leaders and the responsible organisations in the 
Depressed Classes in the different provinces. Nor, has 
he given any reason justifying his new policy. The fact 
Dr. Ambedkar was greeted with a rousing reception and 
was supported in his demand for separate representation by 
thousands of people recently at Madras itself, is sufficient 
to prove that Rao Bahadur Rajah lacks support even in his 
own Presidency. The evidence which is being given before 
the Franchise Committee also proves beyond dispute that an 
overwhelming majority of the Depressed Classes is in favour 
of Separate Electorates. 

The Bombay Congress and Mahasabha organs have 
given out that Mr. B. J. Deorukhkar has sent a 
memorandum to the Franchise Committee signed by 
over five thousand people belonging to the Depressed 
Classes in support of the Munje-Rajah Pact. It has, 

1 Rao Bahadur M. C. Rajah — A Depressed Classes leader from Madras. 
President of All India Depressed Classes Association. Member of Madras 
Legislative Council. Member in the Central Assembly. 


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REACTIONS ON CONVERSION 483 

however, been discovered that, this is nothing but fiction. The 
fact is that a few set replies to the questionnaire issued by 
the Franchise Committee have been forwarded in the name 
of certain insignificant bodies, the numerical strength of 
which is quite negligible. Mr. Deorukhkar represent himself 
and at the most some people belonging to his sub-section of 
the Chambhar Community viz. the Dabholi Chambhars, who 
constitute but a small fraction of the so-called Untouchable 
community in Maharashtra. 

We challenge the Congress and Mahasabha people and 
their friends in the Depressed Classes to prove their majority 
in a public meeting especially held for the purpose. So long as 
they are not prepared to do this the claims of the Congress 
and Mahasabha organs should be treated with the contempt 
they deserve. 


Divakar Pagare (Mahar) 

K.G. Chandorkar (Chambhar ) 1 

• • 


1 : Surwade, Vol. 1 Pp. 143 — 144. 

GPN — Y-1054 — MSDR-BABPOB-8-2003 — 15,210-Books — PR-8* 


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blank 


DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR 

WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 


PUBLISHED VOLUMES 

Vol. 1 

• Castes in India 

• Annihilation of Caste, Maharashtra as a Linguistic Province, Need for 
Checks and Balances 

• Thoughts on Linguistic States 

• Ranade, Gandhi and Jinnah, Evidence before the Southborough Committee, 
Federation versus Freedom 

• Communal Deadlock and a Way to solve It 

• States and Minorities 

• Small Holdings in India, Mr. Russell and the Reconstruction of Society 


Vol. 2 

• In the Bombay Legislature 

• With the Simon Commission 

• At the Round Table Conferences 

Vol. 3 

• Philosophy of Hinduism 

• India and Pre-Requisites of Communism 

• Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Ancient India 

• Buddha or Karl Marx 

• Schemes of Books 


Vol. 4 

• Riddles in Hinduism 


Vol. 5 

• Untouchables or the Children of India’s Ghetto and other Essays on 
Untouchables and Untouchability Social — Political — Religious 


Vol. 6 

• Administration and Finance of The East India Company, The Evolution 
of Provincial Finance in British India, The Problem of the Rupee [History 
of Indian Currency and Banking, Vol. 1] Miscellaneous Essays. 


Vol. 7 

Who were the Shudras ? 

• How they came to be the Fourth Varna in the Indo-Aryan Society ? 

The Untouchables 

• Who were They and Why They Became Untouchables ? 


Vol. 8 

• Reprint of Pakistan or the Partition of India 


Vol. 9 

• What Congress and Gandhi have done to the Untouchables ? Mr. Gandhi 
and the Emancipation of the Untouchables 


Vol. 10 

• Dr. Ambedkar as Member of the Governor-General’s Executive Council 
(1942-46) 


Vol. 11 

• The Buddha and his Dhamma 

Vol. 11-SUPPLEMENT 

• Pali and other Sources of the Buddha & his Dhamma with an Index 


Vol. 12 

• Ancient Indian Commerce, The Untouchables and the Pax Britannica, 
Lectures on the English Constitution, The Notes on Acts and Laws; 
Waiting for a Visa, Other Miscellaneous Essays 


Vol. 13 

Dr. AMBEDKAR 

• The Principal Architect of the Constitution of India 


Vol. 14 

Dr. Ambedkar and the Hindu Code Bill 
Part One 

• General Discussion on the Draft (17th November 1947 to 14th December 
1950) 

Part Two 

• Clause by Clause Discussion (5th February 1951 to 25th September 1951) 

Vol. 15 

• Dr. Ambedkar as free India’s first Law Minister and Member of Opposition 
in Indian Parliament (1947 to 1956) 

Vol. 16 

• Dr. B. R. Ambedkars 

(I) The Pali Grammar 

(II) The Pali Dictionary 

(A) Pali into English 

(B) Pali into English, Marathi, Hindi and Gujarathi 

(III) Bouddha Pooja Path 

Vol. 17 

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar and his Egalitarian Revolution 
Part One 

• Struggle for Human Rights 

Part Two 

• Socio-Political, Religious Activities 

Part Three 

• Speeches